This is a really long letter, and I edited it the best I could but there is a lot of pertinent detail. Please pour yourself a tall one and settle in:
I love the dynamic you have with your ex-husband! I really want this for my family, but there’s so much screwed-up crap in my and my ex’s recent past that I don’t want to meet his girlfriend.
7 months after our divorce, we got back together because he had been aggressively trying to get me back saying he had changed. When we reconciled he didn’t mention he had a girlfriend who had met our children. We only stayed together for two months and then of course issues from the marriage resurfaced and we broke up, at which point he immediately went back to this girl (or had never stopped talking to her-who knows?).
A few weeks later I told him I was struggling with all this and still cared about him and he said he still had feelings for me and I bought it. Stupid me…yes. I was in a very bad place in my life and conveniently forgot the reasons we divorced and was only looking at the security he brought and my dreams of having that marriage I’d always dreamed of.
We slept together and I thought we were back together, but we weren’t. He stayed with her and they then went full speed into a very serious relationship. She knew he slept with me but didn’t end things. For months after that he would say very inappropriate things to me sexually when she wasn’t around while also asking me to meet his girlfriend. I said no and I have continued to refuse to meet her.
He has told his family she just wants to meet me so she can offer to help me with the kids if I need it. I can handle the care of my kids on my time and I am not going to have her watch my kids on the weeks I have them. It creeps me out that she wants to meet the ex-wife her boyfriend cheated on her with in the first place. Is he right that I’m being selfish and letting my own reservations interfere with the comfort of my kids?
If you don’t count the time they dated before we got back together, they’ve only been together without me somewhere in the picture for five months (they do not live together but I know they are discussing the possibility). I love my kids dearly, but I’m not sure I’m ready yet to full-on co-parent with him and this girl. On the other hand she is very much integrated in my kids’ lives when they are with their father and I will put my big girl panties on if this is what’s best for them.
Your story gave me mental whiplash, so hold on a moment while I try to recover…
OK, I’m ready now and I’m going to make this somewhat brief, because you used up most of my word limit already, you chatty bitch. For the sake of those readers who are suffering eye strain from the length of your message and the ping-pong nature of your relationship with your ex, I’ll get right to it. You’re not going to like it:
Those big girl panties? Hitch ’em up, sister. Your history with your ex-husband, convoluted and unintentionally hilarious as it is, has very little to do with your co-parenting responsibility to your kids. It sounds like this woman is going to be around for awhile or longer so I advise you meet with her and do your best to form a good relationship.
In our message chat this morning, you told me your children like her (probably because she tries to buy their affection with expensive gifts) and that your ex is a good dad. These are the two most important yet boring facts in your riveting story. Another important fact? Your issues are with your ex-husband and his penis-pocket vacillation tendencies, not this Jenny-come-lately who is lining up to be his future ex-wife #2.
Your kids have been through a real shit storm lately, wouldn’t you agree? First their parents divorced, then they thought they were getting back together, then they didn’t, then dad gave them a new Bonus Mom almost overnight.
You know as well as I do that children often fantasize about their parents getting back together, as most little people really want the family unit to remain intact. Through no fault of their own, that dream was busted like a purity ring-wearing prom queen’s hymen after 3 beers and an “I’ll love you forever.”
Your job is to minimize the negative impact of the recent family reorganization on your kids, and that means finding those big girl panties and getting used to them. There is no bad thing that can come to your kids from you having a good relationship with your ex and his gal pal, but there is plenty of negative shit that can arise if you don’t.
Co-parenting in a positive way is not always easy, but if both parties are willing, it is always possible and the purest selfless decision you can make for your children when what you’d really like to do is stab their dad in the eye with a oyster fork and give his girlfriend a massive titty-twister.
So there it is, my friend. Suck it up, play nice, and buy yourself a voodoo doll that looks just like your ex.
About him: me no likey.
It’s never going to work between you two. I think you have accepted this but I’d just like to drill it further into your pretty head. He’s a finicky finagling basket of fuckery and you need to keep him at arm’s length as you strive to co-parent your kids. I’m not a betting girl, but I’d lay 5-1 odds that he will come sniffing around your spunk dungeon again, especially if his girlfriend figures out what a turd tunnel this guy is and makes for the hills.
Finally, you said you went back to him because you were “looking at the security he brought and my dreams of having that marriage I’d always dreamed of.” Nuh-uh, sister. I don’t allow talk like that around here. You are smart, beautiful, funny and talented. The only “security” you need is a new alarm system for your house to keep your ex at bay when he is beset with nostalgia and wants another look at your baby off-ramp.
Go forth and create your own security and happiness and when you do, the right man will find you and you can start a new dream together. Well, no, because a “dream marriage” doesn’t exist in a conscious world. What you really want is simple: a happy and stable relationship. You can have that but you have to let the old dream die before you can build your new and better reality.