Should I meet my ex-wife’s new man?

by Rod Smith

QUESTION: My children (8 and 9) really like their mother’s boyfriend and I am fine with it. He is okay with the children and I know from a distant mutual acquaintance that he is a good father to his own children. The problem is that I think he tries too hard with mine and they say he is trying to take my place. I get all this third hand when the children come to me (most weekends). From your columns over the past few weeks I get the feeling it would be good for me to meet him. My ex-wife would probably not want me to meet him. What do you think?

RESPONSE: You have every right to meet any person who is sharing time with your children. You do not need your ex-wife’s permission. I’d suggest you phone him and cordially invite him to talk face-to-face. When you meet, don’t critique his relationship with your children, talk about your ex-wife or create any false alliance with him. Do not draw your ex-wife into this. He might choose to tell her about your phone call but that is something over which you have no control. Go well: you are being the man your children can respect.

15 Responses to “Should I meet my ex-wife’s new man?”

  1. Hi, Rod. What’s the title of your book?

  2. Hi! My name is Chris and I work at Help.com. One of our members posted a question and after reading your blog I thought you might be able to provide some expert advise to the question I forwarded. Crystalan describes herself as only 21 but with two kids. She writes:

    “HE is driving me crazy!! He goes threw my mail, goes threw the scroll down on the computer to see the sites I have went to. there was a storie on cosmo about this guy who was cheeting on his wife I read it he found out and got mad!! I run a daycare and LITERALLY every dad, grandpa, uncle, and yes, even moms he accuses me of doing stuff, I not only have 2 kids of my own but the daycare kids too, what do he think I am just going to do something in front of them? I have never cheated but at this point I feel as though I am being treated worse than if I did. our daughter is 3 and he is like a step dad and has been there all her life I am afraid if I leave him she will never get to see him and if she does he will tell her dad to start problems and our son is 2 and I know he will drag me threw courtrooms and they have $ i dont nor do I have much support. PLEASE SOMEONE WRITE ANYTHING YOU THINK WILL HELP, he even has his mom and dad who live a block away look down at our house to be sure nobody is here”

  3. Thanks Chris at Help.com — I welcome the many readers you have sent my way. If your readers browse my blog they are certain to find a similar issue — after 6 years of getting letters from people all over the world one begins to see patterns in the way things go both right and wrong!

  4. You have every right to meet any person who is sharing time with your children. Are you freaking kidding me? What RIGHT are you referring to? My stepkids dad is a complete jerk/woman abuser. He lied to the court to try and make my wife (his ex) to stay in the state of NM to watch his children. She offered to let him have custody, but he didn’t want that responsibility, just the control over where his ex wife lived. He lost. He’s a piece of garbage and he has NO RIGHT to meet me whatsoever. Only an idiot would call that a right – you must be an idiot.

  5. …. thanks Kobe Bean, for your response (or, I should say, reaction). I hope your relationship with you wife and the children will be very fulfilling for you all.

    Thanks for reading my column.

    Rod

  6. Rod,

    I agree with Kobe…exactly what RIGHT does an ex-spouse have to meet (or know personal information about) their ex-spouse’s new boy/girlfriend? I see in your response to Kobe that you didn’t exacty answer that.

  7. ….. when people co-parent the SAME children, it is usually a good thing that they esablish some form of relationship. Of course there are situations where this is not wise (as is apparently the case with Kobe). A dad has a right to know the people who are involved with his children as a co-parent no matter what Kobe might believe about the man to whom his wife was formerly married.

  8. Dear All:

    Any advice you can give would be most appreciated… My boyfriend and I have been dating for approximately 8 mos. and we are very much in love. He speaks of marriage as does his family and I can only assume/hope that we wil head that way in the near future.

    Situation: When we met he was still legally married, although he had been seperated from his ex for approx. a year and living in seperate locations, despite some hesitation I went forward with my relationship trusting divorce was what he wants and that he would be sure to get it done as he knew my thoughts on the matter. The divorce is now almost final which is good news, but the issue the ex. She is really not an issue, but it has been one for me.

    You see they have a 3 year old daughter, and in the past months the daughter and I have grown very close. I love her, she is sooo sweet and loving. We get along great, and per my boyfriend she always asks for me even when I am not around.

    Given all of this I have felt lately that it would be appropriate for me to meet the ex. For the sole purpose that I am around her daughter so much and since I have and assume I will continue to be apart of her daughter’s life I feel it only appropriate that we have the ability to have a cordial relationship.

    So, once when I mentioned it to my boyfriend he was hesitant about this, so I let it go, but now I feel because we are so serious and the timeframe it is time.

    Am I wrong here? Is there no reason for me to meet the ex? Won’t she always be apart of our lives and is it wrong for me to at least want to form a cordial relationship?

    My boyfriend says “she is not the nicest person” and “I don’t want to subject you to meeting her”? Sooooo “you’ll meet her when the time is right!”

    Is this weird or am I out of line here and I should not wish to meet her or establish any type of realtionship? NOTE: She has NOT requested to meet me…

    I would appreciate any feedback since this is all new and very foreign to me.

  9. Dear Dazed and Confused:

    I hope you check back and see this:

    It is appropriate, and essential, that you meet the child’s mother since you (I assume) will co-parent the child. But methinks you are assuming too much (regarding his desire to marry you). Your future is far too valuable to be left to hopes and assumptions.

    Yours

    Rod Smith

  10. Thanks Rod, noted 🙂
    I appreciate the feedback and “wake up call”.

    I have decided, based on feedback from others and my boyfriend’s decision that now is NOT the time to meet her. SHOULD our relationship transpire to the next level we will deal with an introduction then.

    For now, just one day at a time and I will see where we end up.

    Thanks again!

    Best,
    D&C

  11. Ah, yes… the difficult relationship. In my case, toss in a probably personality disorder – and it all gets a whole lot worse.

  12. Where is it in ca law that says a parent has a right to know who their ex is shacked up with as well as room mates. My son’s ex will not allow him to meet he new boyfriend.

  13. I liked the input of this article/blog, but my question is: What am I supposed to do if I ever have to meet the person my wife cheated on me with? How should I treat him and let him know I disappove of his “taking my wife from me” and that he is NOT and NEVER WILL BE my two kids’ father, but that I am “not out for blood” in vengence against him. – Tom of York, PA

    • Thomas — thanks for your question. I will get to it in a day or two. It will be a post, not a reply in where your comment appears. Nothing here is automated. This is Rod Smith and I am a real person (as real as I can be).

      Thanks for reading and writing,

      Rod

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