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Aug 8

Dealing with the ex for better or worse

Posted on Monday, August 8, 2011 in dating, Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, Parenting, Relationships, single dads, single moms

“You won’t believe who I ran into the other day,” Sara said as we stood in line to board the ferry to the Giants game.

“I hope someone worth running into, like Lincecum or whatever actor’s filming somewhere around here.”

“No, someone much more interesting — Todd’s ex.”

Todd’s the OkCupid guy Sara’s still sweet on and vice versa.

“Oooh, what’s she like?”

“Nothing like I thought she’d be like, which, of course, is all based on what Todd told me about her. She’s not at all psycho. She actually seemed like she could kick back a cosmo or two with us, you know? I like her.” 

There are a few weird experiences when you’re divorced — meeting your ex’s new love, having your new love meet your kids, meeting your new love’s kids, and meeting your new love’s ex.

I always listen to a guy talk about his ex with a grain of salt — there’s his version of the truth, her version and then “the truth,” which is likely some mash-up of his truth and hers.

Of course, some exes truly are total nightmares and they can ruin a budding love affair, as Sara discovered when she fell in love with Jeff many months ago but ended it because she couldn’t imagine a future with Jeff and his psycho ex. What happens, though, if you kind of like his ex and he still feels negatively toward her; can you be a positive thing in their relationship — especially if kids are involved.

And at what point do you ask to meet the new love — if you even should ask, that is. If you know your ex has a serious squeeze, one who’s spending time with your kids and developing a relationship with them, do you have a right to ask to meet her? Do you hang around places you know you might accidentally on purpose bump into her, or do you just let it go? And, do you make sure your ex meets you new sweetie?

None of these are questions we even think off when we’re divorcing — there are bigger issues then, right? Funny, but then they start to play a role in our new life, and now we’re forced to think about them whether we want to or not.

I’m not saying it’s better to stay married, but it sure can be less complicated!

  • What has been your experience with either past or present exes?
  • What has been your new love’s — past or present — of your ex?
  • Do you believe you should meet your ex’s new love if it looks serious and you have kids?

 

Photos © Angelika Bentin – Fotolia.com

 

Apr 11

Should you live together if you have kids?

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 in Happiness, Kat, love, Parenting, Relationships, single dads, single moms, Singles, Women

Sara, her new beau, and Sean and I had gone out to Rancho Nicasio to hear some music, eat and dance.

At one point I caught Sara watching Sean and me in a slow dance out of the corner of my eye.

“You guys are so cute together,” she whispered to me later at the table, when Sean went to the restroom. “When are you going to move in together?”

Good question, because I’m not sure we’re ever going to move in together. But certainly not now.

“I don’t know, Sara; not before The Kid’s out of the house. Plus, his kid’s at home, too, remember.”

“Oh, kids, schmids —That’s so old-fashioned. They know you two are sleeping together, right? So, what’s the difference?”

It seems like a pretty big difference to me. Living together when you’ve got kids is sending the wrong message — that marriage doesn’t matter.    

I know, I know — I’m divorced. If marriage really mattered to me …

No one goes into marriage expecting to divorce. But, marriage does matter, if you’re planning to have kids.

Marriage is under attack lately, perhaps rightly so given the insane expectations people place on it. Fewer people than ever before think it’s necessary. Let’s face it, marriage certainly isn’t for everyone. And people often get married for all the wrong reasons, and sometimes couples marry because they’ve been living together for a while and it seems like the next logical thing to do.

Often, it isn’t.

Couples who live together before marrying tend to argue more and communicate less. If they eventually marry, they divorce more often than those who don’t. Plus, they get fat, and that alone is reason to make me say, no way!

But it you’re going to have kids, it makes no sense to live together without getting married first. Shacking up is marriage lite, with all the daily annoyances and relatively predictable roles of marriage without the commitment. And if you think it’s any easier to split if things aren’t going great, well, just look at Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry.

Scary.

And once you have kids — who’ve gone through the trauma of a divorce — it’s all the more reason to tread very carefully on mixing families. Yes, it sure would be nice to go to sleep and wake up next to Sean more often, and to feel more like a family (although we sure do like our “space”). But I’m aware of the message we’d be sending our kids, and it isn’t the message I want to send.

There are like 5 million or so couples shacking up nowadays, and a lot of them are probably like Sean and me — single moms and dads. So I’m pretty sure we’re the minority. But, I’m OK with that. Plus, there’s none of the real or pseudo “step” or “half” things going on — stepmom, stepdad, half-brother, etc. Or worse — “mom’s live-in lover.”

I’ll bet that’s why we’re still so cute together after all these years.

  • Is it OK to live together if you and/or your boy/girlfriend have kids?
  • Do you think it’s any easier to split if you’re living together with kids than if you were married?
  • Did you live with a parent’s boy/girlfriend? How’d that work out?

Photo © Gorilla – Fotolia.com

Jan 24

Should your boyfriend sleep over?


“So, are you and Sean getting together tonight?” Mia asked me as she, Sara and I trudged up the Matt Davis trail.

“Nah, The Kid’s with me tonight.”

“So?” Sara asked.

“So, he doesn’t sleep over when Trent’s with me. You know that.”

Sara stopped abruptly. “Still? Are you kidding me?”

“No, why?”

“Haven’t you guys been together for, like, years?” Mia asked.

“Yeah, about three or four, I guess.”

“So why can’t he sleep over?”

“Well, he could but he doesn’t
feel comfortable with it, and
I want to respect that.”       

“Kat, that’s crazy!” Sara insisted. “You guys are in a committed, monogamous relationship. You know Trent knows you guys are having sex! Why not be out in the open about it?”

I have no problem being open about a lot about sex with The Kid — just not about my personal sex life.

And, really, what kid even wants to think about his
or her parents having sex?
It’s just one big eww!! Most kids think they’re parents stopped having sex when the last kid was born, and they didn’t enjoy it anyway. So if I were still married, my sex life most likely even be an issue.

But when you’re a divorced parent and dating, it’s hard to hide what’s going on, beyond just the noisy sex thing. Having a man who’s not quite our dad, but more than a family friend shuffling over to the breakfast table in his jammies, bed-hair and morning woody — or that look on a guy’s face that only comes from having taken care of that — feels a little too in your face. And there’s always the chance that a kid’s going to accidentally see a boyfriend or girlfriend naked.

Of course, Trent knows what’s going on. But, I don’t feel like I have to fill in the details for him

  • Is it OK for a boyfriend/girlfriend to sleep over when you have kids?
  • Does it matter how long you’ve been together or how old the kids are?
  • If one of your parents did that while you were young, how did you feel about it?

Photo © Angelika Bentin – Fotolia.com