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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 –

Oct 26

He’s got game — video games, that is

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 in Aging, dating, Happiness, Men, Relationships, teens/teenagers, Women

I was a little lost looking up and down the aisles of Best Buy, trying to find the new PSP3 video game title The Kid asked me to pick up for him.

But as it turned out, my aging eyesight wasn’t being put to the test as much my ears. Nearby, I could hear a few guys discussing the pros and cons of various video games. I thought they were middle-aged dads talking about their teens’ gaming skills, until I gave them a good look — they were late-20- to early-30-somethings, max, too young to have kids indulging in the joys of the latest Grand Theft Auto.

I returned to my search, but I couldn’t help but think, “Dudes, aren’t you a little too old to be playing video games?”  

And then I thought of The Kid, who kills more than his share of hours in front of FIFA
Soccer 11
or the latest MLB or Madden title, and all of a sudden I had a freak-out moment — is he going to be a gamer past his teens? He wouldn’t be the only one. And, if I were dating someone like him — or the late-20- to early-30-somethings at Best Buy — how would I feel about it?

Would I want to be dating a gamer?

No. Well, I don’t think so, but I realize it’s not fair to say that; I’m not a late-20- to early-30-something woman who’s grown up with video games and all the other techno stuff we can’t seem to live without. Maybe it’s no big deal. Honestly — how different is it than blobbing out in front of the TV, which I did grow up with (although barely watch anymore). We Trekkies turned out OK, right? And, my boomer friends and I still play board games — Scrabble, anyone?

And yet, there’s something about guys sitting around for hours on end killing people or even just kicking soccer balls around  that makes me pause; it seems childish, like guys are suspended in adolescence (not quite a child, not quite a man but a child-man).

Now, I love it when a guy is in touch with his boyish side, but I mean the playful, imaginative, dreamer side — not the boyish side usually portrayed in the clueless T&A-obsessed beer-soused frat boy flicks, the kind that thinks hours of Final Fantasy with a Halo– keg and pizza chaser is a good use of time. But I wouldn’t be dating those kinds of guys, anyway.

I don’t think video game playing is a threat to society — if I did, I wouldn’t let The Kid play them (although at this point, it would be one helluva battle to get him to stop!) I think checking your cellphone or Facebook constantly may be more threatening — certainly to relationships, and that happens a lot more with both genders and among all ages.

I would have no problem learning how to play FIFA Soccer 11 or whatever if it brought my kid and me together although I haven’t volunteered to learn nor has he asked; might be weird to bitch-slap Mortal Kombat‘s Bo Rai Cho with your Mom by your side.

Would I want to do that to be closer to my partner? Uh …

  • How do you feel about guys playing video games?
  • Is there an age when guys should stop?
  • Is it any better/worse than TV watching?
  • Do you kids play them, and do you place limits on time/violent titles?
Jun 11

It’s out of my hands

Posted on Friday, June 11, 2010 in Divorce, Parenting, Relationships, Self image, teens/teenagers

“You’ll never guess what The Kid did this weekend,” I said to Sara as we soaked in her hot tub under a full moon one night.

“Sleep through it, like every other teen?”

“Ha! No, Rob took him golfing.”

“Oh, now that’s a nice father-son activity.”

“Are you kidding? Now he’ll start wearing those ridiculous pants and talking to little white balls. Rob’s been slowly turning him into a suburban nerd!”

Sara laughed so hard she displaced a good inch of water. “Golf is not going to turn him into a nerd!

“Well, then an adulter …”

“Hey, it would be a hell of a lot worse if they
hung around the Apple store on weekends,
drooling with hard-ons.”     

“But …”

“Look, Kat., you know you can’t control what happens at Rob’s house when you’re not there. Unless he’s abusing him in some way, let it go!”

Isn’t forcing someone to play golf a form of abuse?

But, Sara is right — we can’t control what
our former spouse does with our kids when we’re not around
. That’s one of the hardest things you have to accept when you divorce.

Of course, we never really had much control even when we were a couple — we just thought we did.

It’s just so hard sometimes! And because we’re hearing things from a second source — mostly our kid — we can’t really get a handle on just what the heck is going on over there. The wild orgy with half-naked women and lap-dancing might have been a relatively innocent Mardi Gras party; the “I starve over there because there’s never anything to eat at Dad’s!” might mean “there’s never anything I want to eat (like soda, chips, cookies and candy)”; the “I don’t have a curfew at Dad’s! I can stay up as late as I want!” might really mean “when I’m in my room, if I use a flashlight and earplugs, under the covers, where dad can’t see me.”

Sometimes, though, your ex’s parenting style and yours clash — gee, maybe that’s why you divorced in the first place! But just because you don’t have to live with that crappy behavior anymore doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Then what?

If you get pissed at your ex and freak out on him or try to control what he does, well, good luck. All you’ll end up doing is feeling angry and frustrated, and guess who picks up on that? Right, your kids, who have spent their entire life watching their parents (you’ll notice I didn’t say listening to them!). They have their own conflicted emotions about us; they don’t need our conflicted emotions to deal with, too.

    There are some things that Rob does that I just can’t understand. I’ve called him on them a few times, too. But when The Kid starts bitching about his dad, there’s where I draw the line, because I know Rob, as oblivious as he can be sometimes, means well. That’s when I tell Trent, “That’s something you need to talk to your dad about, not me.”

    The best advice I ever got was this —  you can’t control what anyone else does, you can only control how you feel about it.

    And, as much as it pains me, I will not say a peep about golf. I’m just not going to launder the pants …

    • So, how do you handle dealing with your ex and his/her parenting decisions?
    • What do you do when it’s something you strongly object to?

    Photo © Rugolo –