New relationship – advice for a friend

A twitter buddy of mine tweeted this today, and I figured that there are plenty of you in my diverse readership that could help her out.

Somebody who has kids, is divorced, and their ex is in a r’ship help me figure out how to deal with my kid already loving someone else.

What I told this friend was to be happy that the child has another person in her life to show her love and affection. That just because this beautiful little girl loves a new person, does not mean in any way, shape or form, that her love for either parent is diminished.

My kids have two parents, me and their dad. We are both remarried – they now have a step-father and a step-mother. And additional aunts and uncles and grandparents. So many more people to love them and care about them.  How can that be a bad thing?

When your ex moves on before you do it is very hard. It hurts. It burns. Especially if maybe you are not ready for it and have still not dealt with the fall out from the separation. Add children into the mix and there are a lot of worries and thoughts. Will the new partner be good to my children? Will they be supportive of my relationship with my kids? These are good questions to ask, and time will tell.

The one thing I must stress, to my friend, and to all parents – the children’s needs always must come first. You have to prioritize them. It is the only way for the children to grow up without extra trauma from the divorce – if both parents put the kids first, and are on the same page when it comes to raising the children they had together. Do not EVER use the children to fight your battles with your ex for you. Do not EVER use the children as pawns to get back at your ex or punish him / her in some way. This will only end up hurting the children more than anyone else.

If you love your child, dear twitter buddy, as I know you do, you will be happy for her that she has so many people to love. When she chatters on about the new partner, just listen. It will hurt at first, but the new partner is a fact of life that you have to accept. For your own sake as well as your child’s.

If any of my readers have some more words of advice, please weigh in.

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  1. RubyV says:

    Both my spouse and I have parents who are divorced and remarried. My daughter is incredibly blessed by an abundance of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She believes that she is “super lucky and cool ’cause so many people love me!”.

    When she had the reaction this weekend, we were able to appreciate exactly how wonderful this extended family is – there were so many people to offer us support. Blood or not, at the end, we are all family, and love each other. It is truly a blessing.

    • kisarita says:

      I’m always suspicious of these polyanna scripted like lines from children- I’m suspicious that they are reigning in their true feelings either on their own or because they’re supposed to.

      • RubyV says:

        She is 6, so doesn’t get that it took her grandparents decades to get to this point. All she sees is that as the baby, she is utterly adored by everyone. She has three grandmothers, three grandfathers, and more aunties and uncles than you can shake a stick at. In her mind, the fact that she has more than the standard two of each is cool.

        My husband loves his stepfather very much. When his stepmother died, he sat shiva for her (and named our daughter after her). My husband’s mother loves my husband’s little bro, and attended the wedding this weekend as a beloved relative. The current stepmom and my MIL go out to dinner together every Wed when my FIL works late.

        At the BIL’s wedding this weekend, exes, steps, everyone joined together to celebrate. Hell, they all do shabbat together. It’s not perfect, but it is loving, and everyone does their best to keep their priorities straight – caring for each other.

        Considering that I am usually accused of being horribly bleak and dark, I’m tickled that anything I wrote is pollyana-ish.

  2. Kim says:

    You know I am with you on this one. A child can never have enough love. The flipside to this is bad bad bad…a step-parent who is horrid to a step-child.

    As bad and as ugly as divorce can be, as parents, both need to rise above the circumstances and put the child(ren) out in front. Always…

  3. kisarita says:

    Your friends feelings are normal, don’t make her feel like an ogre for it.
    Feelings don’t always respond to logic.

  4. kisarita says:

    Some children love their teachers. Or their aunts and uncles.
    Parents are usually happy about that, although I bet there could be some jealousy too there.
    Same idea.

    I personally don’t believe that any parent should introduce their new partner to their kids Mommy or Daddy. If the kids are very young it may be ok to have one Tattie and one Daddy or some such, but even that is not ok if it offends the ex spouse.

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