I'll Never Have Another Relationship Like With My Kids' Dad & Truthfully It Makes Me Sad


My ex-husband and I are on really good terms. We are able to talk through things, we co-parent well, and we celebrate our kids’ birthdays together. We are still good friends and genuinely like each other.

We are both partnered with other people and have been in long-term relationships for years. The four of us have no problems hanging out together at our kids’ functions and we all have a mutual respect for each other.

I’m telling you this because there’s something (even in the best of circumstances) that has been really hard for me to navigate: When you aren’t with the parent of your child any longer, the relationship game changes. I will never have a relationship again like I had with my kids' father, and there are things about that which make me sad.

When it comes to divorce and dating, the kids will always come before a relationship.

That’s just the way it is now. My kids come before my boyfriend, and his kids come before me. Your kids are going to be a constant in your life.

If my kids get sick and want to stay home with me, I don’t go to my boyfriend’s house. If they are having issues in school or going through a hard time, they don’t always want to confide in me about them, which I understand. It’s my job, though, to make sure their father is aware of what’s going on and we all work on it together.

If my boyfriend’s kids are going through something or need him, I have to take a back seat.

No matter how great a co-parenting relationship is, there will always be moments where we and our new partner will have to navigate each other's children.

And it is especially then when I miss being married to my kids' father the most.

When my ex-husband used to say to the kids, “You need to treat your mother better” or “No, you have to stay home because your mother and I need a night to be alone,” he was protecting the relationship, thus protecting our kids.

Granted, it didn't work out. But to kids it feels a lot more acceptable for their father to say something like that versus from someone whom you’ve been dating for a year.

You also may have to put your living situation on hold. This isn’t always the case, of course, but it’s something my boyfriend and I are going to do because we live almost an hour away and have teenagers. If we were to move in together, it would mean changing schools for our kids, not to mention uprooting them from their childhood homes. We know we can wait until they graduate and go off on their own, but traveling and not sharing one home can bring stress into the relationship.

When my boyfriend’s kids are doing something I feel wouldn’t be OK with me if my kids were doing it, I have to keep my mouth shut.

His daughter already has a mother and she doesn’t need me to chime in — nor do I want to overstep. This is incredibly hard at times.

Of course there are situations when we do come together for advice or to vent. But I’ve learned you cannot simply blurt out, “Well, you need to do xyz because you aren’t being strict enough” because all that does is undermine the parent of the child.

This can make a partner feel left out, and there are times it may put a wedge between two people.

It took me some time to get used to this feeling. I was always all in with my partners before my divorce. We didn’t keep things from each other; there was no “We need to work this out as a family and I need some time to do that.”

It’s a delicate balance, and there are times when feelings get hurt regardless of how “mature” the incoming partner is. They are aware you were all a family before they came into the picture, and it’s hard to make sure everyone feels comfortable all the time.

A few weeks ago, we were celebrating my son’s birthday when my ex-husband's girlfriend said something about “forcing” my kids to take tennis lessons.

This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I had to say something. They are teenagers and I’m not into forcing them to take up a sport if they don’t want to. My ex-husband knows how I feel about this, and he vetoed her and went along with me. I know this caused tension between them. That’s just a tiny example of how the dynamic can be.

If the two of us were married and we didn’t agree on this, I would have felt safer than I did with another woman telling me what my kids were going to do.

Relationships after kids and dovorce can be wonderful and rewarding. My ex-husband and I are both happy, but I'm still getting used to the fact that the dynamic and bond I had with him will never be the same with anyone else. It can be greater in some ways but strained in others.

If you are divorced with kids and looking for love, keeping that in mind is hard. There are challenges that can bring you down and, at times, make you feel like it’s not worth it.

Ride those ups and downs and if you think it’s the right person. Give yourself and your partner room and grace to screw up sometimes, because this isn’t easy.

 Source: cafemom.com

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