Is His Ex Doing Too Much?

Most of my women friends are single parents. Not surprising, right? Especially given the grim statistics for romantic relationships or marriages that last forever. For marriages, I’ve been hearing the same stale rate for years – 50% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.

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What happens to the children of those dissolved relationships? If they’re lucky, they wind up with two parents who, despite their separation, are fully invested in doing what’s best for the children without allowing their emotions or egos to get in the way.

What does an ideal co-parenting situation look like? Two separate households where children are shuttled back and forth for weekly visitation and alternate holidays? Does it look like the exes taking family vacations together with their children and leaving current spouses at home? Should either adult continue to frequent their ex’s home? Spend nights there for the sake of the children? Be “besties” once they’re broken up? What about new love interests? How do they factor in? Does everyone involved just become “one big happy?”

It takes time to heal emotionally from any break-up. How we handle it and how we proceed depends on any number of factors – the reason things ended (was there infidelity?), the adults’ emotional maturity level, and their ability to forgive, personality differences, etc. Some people allow their new husband or wife to dictate their relationship with their ex and their children. And let’s face it – some people just get really nasty. Divorce and separation can bring out the worst in us.

But in what we might consider a healthy co-parenting situation – meaning both parents are amicable to one another and put the interest of the children first, what are some boundaries that need to be set? Especially once either adult enters a new, serious relationship?

Could you tolerate your new love being good friends with his ex? Visiting their home? Spending lengths of time there during holidays and birthday (the kids’) celebrations? Having lengthy conversations on topics that have nothing to do with their children in common? Would you try and forge a friendship with your partner’s ex?

I have the utmost respect for any man or woman who can foster a healthy co-parenting situation because it shows character – their responsibility to their children never wavers despite relationship statuses.

It’s a serious issue given the probability that we will either have a child by someone we eventually separate from, or date or become seriously involved with someone who has one or more children from a previous relationship. Avoiding people with children is another option, but it becomes a challenge once you’re over 30.

What are your thoughts? What has your experience been? What are your deal breakers as far as co-parenting situations?



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12 replies

  1. “I have the utmost respect for any man or woman who can foster a healthy co-parenting situation because it shows character – their responsibility to their children never wavers despite relationship statuses.”

    Those are my sentiments too. It definitely speaks to the character of the individuals involved.

    As a single man, with no children, I don’t have any personal experience with co-parenting.

    However, I do have friends and family members who are in such situations. I’ve noticed that the majority of them all have different arrangements. Some are amicable and others are not.

    I personally believe that if a man has children and marries a woman who is not the mother of his children, he should have a discussion with both his wife and his children’s mothers.

    During that discussion they should hash out any complications and concerns. I also believe that the man should have his wife to pick up his children from the mother’s house too. That will keep his wife from possibly thinking that there is something going on between the two of them.

    Very thought provoking piece. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I’ve never seriously dated man with children, so I have no personal experience with dealing with co-parenting on that end. I’ve had a messy situation with my ex over our children, and my long term partner was very patient, trusting, and understanding. (Wow, I need to keep that in my back pocket!) Whereas I never wanted to have to “compete” with another woman for a man’s attention and didn’t date guys with children.

    But I see that my single-parent friends do try to maintain amicable relationships to the extent possible. It’s mixed as far as family.

    It’s doable. I think subconsciously it’s easy to feel that unhealthy co-parenting situations are the norm.

    Thx!

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  3. Fortunately for me, I have not had to deal with a co-parenting situation. However, I’m a firm believer in responsibility. I played a major role in bringing life into this world. It’s now my role to makes sure those lives are as healthy and happy as can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the reason co-parenting doesn’t work is because one person always want to be with the other person. If that’s not on the table co-parenting can work with zero issues. That’s usually the hardest part though. Getting the parents to just let things be. I’ve never dating someone with a kid because I never wanted to deal with that type of drama. Being older, I don’t think I would have a problem with it as long as the other guy just wasn’t in the picture. I know that sounds crazy but the kid/kids will be okay with me just taking care of them. Also for me to date someone with a kid I would need her to still want kids so we can at least have one together.

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    • Excellent point. I had that situation where the man never got over the relationship so he tried to make my life a living hell. Acting on emotion. I’ve never seriously dated a man with children. Like you, I didn’t want to be bothered with another female in the picture. I’m open to it now. If he makes me feel completely secure in our relationship, and he’s taking care of his responsibilities the way he should be — and there’s no crazy drama going on, I’m good. I know what it’s like to have someone love and accept you without ever questioning your loyalty or co-parenting, so I’m mature enough to take that lesson. At 25, I wasn’t.

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  5. Co-parenting, in my opinion should be amicable. I am a single mom of two children with the same dad. He has remarried since our split and although I want it to be a good situation, it is not. Personality issues, past hurts and other things get in the way. I would love to be on a level where we could all comingle for the sake of the kids, but its hard when the new woman doesn’t like you for issues that had nothing to do with her. I believe that in order for these situations to work the women have to take the lead. Men, most times, will go along with what their wives say when it comes to how to handle the children. I allow my childrens father to come into my home to visit, but he knows that it has to be on a day and time that is approved by me first. I will not allow any man in my life to dictate my relationship with my children’s father. Yes of course I will compromise and some things are down right unacceptable, but it is important to me for my children to see their parents being cordial to each other. Some things take more time than we want and some things will never happen…it all just depends on the people involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Co parenting can work, but, there have to be some ground rules when married, or in a relationship. I read a part that stood out. Spending long periods of time at the other parents house. No bueno. In a relationship if the two are divorced and one is married, it should be cordial pick up the kids and then go home and spend time with them.

    Having a spouse and taking them to theIr divorced spouse house and spending time there would cause a problem. It was thoughtful enough to bring the new spouse to the divorced parents house who have custody of the kids, but, that is a situation that would bring back old feelings. Some of it maybe anger or some good feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it depends on the parties involved. Some people can pull this off with no problem. I’ve never tried and it would be a huge adjustment for me. I’m at the point now where I accept that there are people who are extensions of my partner (children, relatives, etc.) and they loved and kept him in some capacity before I did. They came before me. If I try and disrupt that, and he complies, he will only resent me later. Because he wants to dictate his own life, and rightfully so. Either you deal (unless they are clearly pining for each other and or having an inappropriate relationship) or you walk away.

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