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My dating life when XW is living with OM

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Gomphus posted 4/24/2013 15:26 PM

At the risk of getting clobbered by 2x4s I have an inquiry for the folks here that have dated after divorce.

My XW moved the OM into my old house about a year after we separated. She introduced him as a friend, then a bf, then he moved in. Despite they're sordid beginning, she did it pretty well I think. They've been living like this for 9 months and the kids are there 50% so they've integrated into their new life there. Things seem to be going well for them. Kids don't like him a ton but they're used to the idea and 'roll with it'.

They know I'm dating, and actually encouraged it before I ever let them know I was. I've tried to do what I thought was 'right' but have always wrestled with 'well, they saw mom do it one way, seem to be ok with it, so does that change the rules for me?' kind of thing. Mom certainly didn't waste any time - but in her case, they had been together at least for a few years so their relationship was pretty solid by the time she introduced him. again, despite the way that relationship started, it seems to be fairly healthy.

I discuss dating with my girls (11, 9, and 7) a bit. They know I'm dating, know about girls I'm dating, and I explain how dating is just a period where you get to know one person and you're not dating other people (at least that's how I do it) to see if it may work out. They seem to really want me to have someone - no apparent worries that they'll lose me even though they have lost mom a little to the OM. I think they want me to 'have someone' and see coupling as a good model.

I'm in a small town and the girl i am currently dating has been at the same places as us a few times. They know her, I introduced her (as I do everyone I know) to them before we started dating. they know I'm dating her. I feel ok with this 'they know I'm dating and even know who I'm dating sometimes' thing.

Sometimes it seems weird to me that I keep my personal life separate from them. I dunno, like it isn't right. It sets up a weird dichotomy where I feel like I'm living two parallel lives and one is separate from them. Maybe that's part of divorce, but it reeks of sneaking or something. I fully understand they whole 'don't integrate a new person into your life until you're sure they're going to be a part of your life' thing but at the same time, it sometimes make sense to me to let the girls see how dating is supposed to work. that sometimes it doesn't work out and you don't date anymore. That you take things slowly, get to know someone, and then decide if you want to move forward. Sometimes I wonder if that's a healthier view of dating for them to learn. Especially since my oldest is 11 and it won't be long before her own 'dating' adventures begin.

I'm not sure what question I'm asking. Maybe I'm questioning the blanket rule of 'don't introduce anyone to your kids until you know you're going to be in a solid relationship' idea and wondering if there are some hybrid versions that make sense, too.

Yes, I'm asking because I really like this girl I'm dating now. I've dated 4-5 people now, all healthy (mostly, some sex too soon) dating escapades that ended, but ended well so I have some perspective of what 'seems good' vs. something that I felt may not work out.

Any thoughts or comments?

gardenparty posted 4/24/2013 19:01 PM

The don't introduce people into your kids life is a solid rule. You do not need to hide the fact that you are dating or even whom you are dating however you do not need to integrate her into your family life until you are in a more solid relationship with her. They are still very, very young and however well they are adjusting to their new situation does not mean that they are able to cope with even more changes right now.

Catwoman posted 4/24/2013 19:33 PM

As long as the kids have age appropriate information, you don't need to do anything else.

My kids were older when my ex left, and he did the insta-family thing with the OW (which hurt my kids greatly when it imploded--just one more loss for them). I dated and would occasionally have my dates over, but never lived with anyone.

There is a big gulf between the occasional dinner or holiday meal and integrating someone into your kids' lives.

I didn't reveal much about my dating life to my kids. I still don't. I have a steady fellow that I have been seeing for close to 3 years now. We don't live together. When my kids are home (summers now--they are in college), my SO may be present for a handful of dinners, but that is it. I feel very strongly about having time with my kids without him around. I encourage him to do the same.

My ex lived with the OW for quite a while. It really wasn't a factor in my decisions on how I conducted my relationships. Because it imploded so spectacularly and with a great deal of impact to my kids, I feel they are seeing that perhaps my way is a more considerate and deliberate route.


Gomphus posted 4/24/2013 19:50 PM

thanks, Cat. Very helpful anecdote.

Kajem posted 4/24/2013 19:58 PM

I also live in a small town... If I didn't tell my kids who I date their friends that saw me would.

My kids knew who I dated after the implosion of my marriage. Did they get introduced- not always. As we made our relationship exclusive that was when he was integrated into family time. I dated XSO for 8 years. We did not live together. We did not sleep in the same room when he stayed with us. My youngest had issues based on XH's behavior when he moved in with OW.

Since breaking up, XSO maintains a relationship with each of my girls. They share some interests and he cares about their well being enough to help them. Unlike their father.

Are you looking at living together? I would have felt torn between my kids and my SO. It would have been very tough for me to manage it.



SBB posted 4/24/2013 20:08 PM

I agree with the others about the difference between introducing someone and integrating them into your kids lives.

My girls are much younger and I only have them 50% of the time. I see no need to introduce someone to them until quite a ways into the relationship and where I see a long term future.

monster has gone down the Instafamily route. My 5 year old seems to like OWUmpteen but has told me numerous times that she misses having her own daddy time.

My biggest concern is fallout should I integrate someone and then things end. Another loss for my girls to deal with.

I completely relate to the feeling of having a double life. With them I am in Mummy mode which I adore. Then without them I'm in single woman mode which I'm also quite fond of.

I don't think its appropriate for the two to be blended. I don't feel like I'm keeping secrets from them (even if they were older), I would see it as keeping my dating life personal until such time that it became a long term future relationship.

Its not that difficult to keep them separate when I only have them half the time. I'm not at all keen on my girls memories of their childhood being "all of mums boyfriends". They will already have that on their fathers side.

I personally think it models the wrong behaviour to have back-to-back long term, live-in relationships when you have young children. monsters mother did it and IMO this is the genesis for his view that 'love' (ie: infatuation) means absolutely everything and its worth risking everything just to get that feeling, however fleeting it is.

[This message edited by StrongButBroken at 10:04 PM, April 24th (Wednesday)]

Gomphus posted 4/24/2013 20:16 PM

enlighgening. thank you for sharing

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