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SuperMouse's avatar

Should I discuss this with my ex or let it go?

Asked by SuperMouse (30793points) March 17th, 2013

My kids spend the first three weekends of every month with their father. Since we divorced four years ago he has introduced our kids to approximately seven of his girlfriends. They aren’t usually around more then a couple of months. Last weekend when he picked up the kids he had a new girl in the car. According to the kids, she spent the night. I just picked them up and it turns out she spent the entire weekend with them at their father’s house. This seems wholly inappropriate to me, especially considering how quickly he spins through women. I have told the kids that it is against the moral code I am trying to instill in them to have this women spending the night and I think it is inappropriate. So the question is should I express my concerns to the ex (who is notoriously obnoxious and purposely contrary), or just leave it at having discussed it with the kids?

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27 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My ex-wife does many things I disapprove of, but I cannot police her life. What she does in her house around her children is her business.

What I do in my house around my children is my business.

Oh, those are the same children. Hm. There’s the difficulty.

Or is it?

Carinaponcho's avatar

A similar albeit less dramatic situation happened with my parents. My mother just criticized and talked bad about my dad. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but she did. It didn’t change my opinion about my father. In fact it made me mad because I felt like it was none of my moms business. She should respect my own morals. I can decide what I think about things myself. But I think it depends on the age of your kids.

chyna's avatar

I can’t see that he would even listen to your concerns given his history. He seems to do things to antagonize you on purpose.
I think you talking to your kids and explaining your morals to them, as you already have, is about the only thing you can really do.
I really think your kids are old enough to realize that their dad is just zipping through women and is not ever happy with anyone. They see that you are living a very happy life with your husband. They may not realize they are learning lessons, but these things will stick with them as they grow and set out on their own lives.

filmfann's avatar

It may be important to your ex to find out how they are with the kids. Asking him to cool the overnights may crimp how he can judge this. That said, I think you are doing the right thing, and instilling a good value in your kids. It may be enough that they know you don’t approve.

bkcunningham's avatar

@SuperMouse, if this is the first time in four years he’s had one of his seven girlfriends spend the weekend at his house while the kids are there, count yourself lucky. If you criticize your children’s father or his lifestyle in front of the chidden, it makes the kids feel like they are being disloyal to you for loving him. They should be free to love you both equally.

Believe me when I say, I really do know how you feel. It is one tough position to be in when you don’t agree with the things your ex does around the children. If it doesn’t endanger their lives, bite your tongue. If he were the kind of person who you could talk to in private about the impression it makes on the kids by having an array of girlfriends in their lives, it would be one thing. But apparently, from what you say, he isn’t. Leave it alone.

Children look at their parents and see themselves. If one parent teaches them to see the faults in the other parent and to hate the other parent, it is like they are seeing the faults in themselves and hating themselves as well. Take special note of @Carinaponcho‘s comments above. A teenager whose been living through a divorce. Its tough on everyone.

marinelife's avatar

Unless there is something about this in the custody agreement, I would let it go. He is not likely to stop doing it just because you ask him. So why even go down that road?

Blondesjon's avatar

I’d let it alone. If the trio is anything like their mother they’ll keep a straight head without any unnecessary drama involved.

besides you know he’s parading a new girlie every month for your benefit not his

Qipaogirl's avatar

Bringing it up will only make the behavior worsen. He’ll become indignant, and dig his heels in, not for any other reason than knowing that it annoys you. Sorry, I know it is not what you want to expose your kids to, but your lessons and words have a voice, and your children will hear it!

livelaughlove21's avatar

I agree that it’s inappropriate and I agree that he shouldn’t be introducing your kids to his flavor of the week. Kids should only be introduced to serious partners, and all responsible parents know this. I also think you totally have the right to object to it. These are your kids too, and you should have a say in what type of environment they’re exposed to.

However, I have to agree with the others that said he probably won’t listen either way. I’d stick to explaining the situation to your kids and leaving it be, just to avoid the unnecessary argument. However, be careful not to bad-mouth their dad to them. That’s not appropriate either.

whitenoise's avatar

I am with @bkcunningham and @Carinaponcho. Cominf from a broken family.

Please just bite youtongue, unless she damages your children through her behavior.

Patton's avatar

Consenting adults spending the night together is inappropriate? Sounds like you’re the one with bad morals. This is reinforced by the way in which you think it might be appropriate to police your ex-husband’s life. You gave up all rights over how he lives four years ago.

@Blondesjon is completely right about why your ex is parading these women in front of you. He’s trying to get to you, and there no point telling him it’s working. And there’s also no point putting your kids into a situation where they feel like they have to choose sides.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Patton, I am having trouble figuring out why my not wanting my ex-husband to sleep with this woman with my kids in the house would be a reflection on my morals. For the record I could not care less what he does in his personal life. I start to have an issue when it intersects with my children’s lives in a negative way.

mcbealer's avatar

Sadly, it’s out of your hands.

Just keep your side of the street clean, and in due time the contrast in lifestyles will speak volumes to your children.

Oh and in the meantime, you can sorta of go there (tactfully) by mentioning in your birds-and-the-bees conversations what healthy boundaries are in new intimate relationships, etc.

tinyfaery's avatar

Honestly, even though I think you have absolutely every right
to tell your children you do not approve of his behavior or the example he is setting, based on history, I’d say you should just leave it alone.

Don’t invite him to be a dick; he seems to be very good at it on his own.

Coloma's avatar

I sympathize, I went through this when I divorced and my daughter was 15.
I was furious when her dad moved in with a women after only 6 months. My philosophy was ” can’t you, just,for ONCE, put someone elses needs before your own!”
Such is the demon force or pathological narcissism.

Now that my daughter is 25 she is extremely critical of her dads relationship choices over the years.
Sadly, all you can do is have open, honest discussions with your children about healthy relationships and make them aware their father does not fall into that category.
Obsessive relationship seeking is unhealthy behavior and smacks of serious personality problems.
Everyone needs to learn to be alone after the breakup of long term relationships and those that can’t have serious emotional problems.

AdamF's avatar

I take it the problem isn’t that he had a woman spend the night (i.e. you wouldn’t object if he was living with her on a long term basis?), but that he isn’t into longterm monogamy and the kids know it. Is that correct?

Well, if he’s bringing home different women, and there’s no evidence to indicate that those involved aren’t clear about the situation as consenting adults, and the women are nice to your kids, then I have a hard time seeing what the problem is. So not only do I not know what the basis of your complaint is with your X, but I have a hard time understanding the lesson you’re hoping to teach your kids. Because if no one is actually being hurt, and you tell your kids it’s immoral nonetheless; then your kids will naturally learn that morality isn’t about how we treat each other, but rather about simply following rules regardless of their demonstrated implications for other people.

So, in my opinion, unless you can demonstrate that he’s actually doing real harm, I don’t think you have any justification in claiming he’s doing something immoral, to him or your kids.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

As a child of a single mother who dated, I can honestly tell you that it disturbed my peace of mind more than just about anything in my life to meet various boyfriends and think about how my life would change if things ‘worked out.’

In your case (which I’m not familiar with in any way), I would probably have a conversation with the children. You can’t control him, but you can make sure your children are educated with the facts and feel safe.

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captainsmooth's avatar

Not much you can do about it.

I don’t say anything to my ex wife about what she does when my kids are with her. What happens when they are with her is a reflection of her.

She has gone from me to our married neighbor (while married to me) to a new guy before our divorce was finalized (while saying she wanted to get back together as well as telling our kids the same) to his now ex best friend.

If my ex thinks that is OK, think she is going to listen to me that what she does in front of my kids might be wrong? If your ex has gone thru however many ladies in front of your kids, you think pointing it out to him is going to change his ways?

Patton's avatar

@SuperMouse How does it reflect on your poor morals? You’re saying you have a right to police your former husband’s sex life. You don’t. You’re saying you have a right to decide what he teaches his children about sexual morality. You don’t. He’s a right bastard from what I’ve picked up, but you play into it by coming off as a prude and a shrew. You’ve moved on in your way, and he gets to move on in his. You should’ve prevented him from having visitation rights if you really couldn’t handle that fact.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Patton as the other parent, I do! have the right to have a say in what he teaches our kids about sexual morality. I also never said I have the right to police his sex life or even mentioned the shit to him to no shrew-like behavior here. Either way, I see it as a huge stretch to call me immoral.

Patton's avatar

@SuperMouse No, you don’t have the right to say what he teaches your kids. You have a right to teach them what you want, and he has the right to teach them what he wants. You gave up rights over his life when you got divorced. And if you think complaining to him about this wouldn’t be attempting to police his sex life, then wake up. What could it possibly be other than an attempt to change his behavior?

And I didn’t call you a shrew. I said your behavior was likely to come off as prudish and shrew-like. If you don’t understand the difference between appearances and reality, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Patton . . . just out of curiosity, how many children do you have and/or have you raised?

SuperMouse's avatar

@Patton let’s just agree to disagree because frankly, you are just plain wrong.

Patton's avatar

@Blondesjon Three.

@SuperMouse Good comeback.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Patton not a “comeback” just a reality.

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