It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Confused Mom and Girlfriend” whose boyfriend of a year was feeling jealous of and threatened by the LW’s co-parenting relationship with her ex-husband.
Thank you from the bottom of my mommy heart for your sound advice. Fortunately, prior to receiving your response, my boyfriend and I had a lengthy heart-to-heart discussion in which many of the points that you, and that your readers, made were brought up. We both left the conversation with a clearer image of the other’s perspective and with a plan in place. I feel I made it extremely clear to him exactly why I did, and will continue to do, things as a family with my ex and our children. I also ensured that he was clear on my feelings for him, my desire to grow in relationship with him, and, of course, my desire for the relationship between him and my children to grow.
My boyfriend expressed to me that he does want a deeper relationship with both my children and me and that he desires to be more involved in their lives as time goes on and the relationships grow. He shared with me some of his insecurities, which help me understand better why he felt threatened… The main one being the fact that my ex and I share an extremely strong bond–our children, which he and I don’t share and may never have. But he explained to me that he’s aware that the bond he does share with me will strengthen over time, and, as you said, his jealousy was, and will continue to be, tempered. I let my boyfriend know that my desire is that, over time, all adults present in my children’s lives will be mature and understanding enough to be present at events, major and minor, together, for the sake of family/for the sake of the kids. And guess what? He agreed! He seems to have a better understanding that, while maybe uncommon, my attitude toward my ex-husband and our time as a family is beneficial and healthy for the children. He even shared with me how he plans on breaking the ice when he meets my ex for the first time: “Hi, I’m so and so (shakes hand). You have amazing children.” The fact that he’d already formulated a plan without discussing it with me shows me that he does intend on sticking around and that he is taking his relationship with me, and with my children, much more seriously than I once thought. In addition, to help ease his fears, I promised to keep him “in the loop” about these “family” times, either before or while they’re happening (as they can be sporadic sometimes, like the “ice-cream because of traffic” meet) so that he’s not caught off guard, as was the last case.
So, I suppose we will continue to move slowly, grow, talk everything to death (his ability to communicate is so attractive) and see what the future holds. Just keep your fingers crossed with me that my children’s father remains on board with our “it’s about the kids” mentality, even when my boyfriend is introduced into his world. That may warrant another letter to you entirely ;).
Relieved Mom and Girlfriend
Your kids are lucky to have such a loving, committed, and smart mom! Best of luck to you and fingers crossed for continued harmony on the family front.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.