Introducing kids to their fathers's new girlfriend
I am legally separated from my husband of 14 yrs. He had an affair behind my back with a co-worker. They are still together after 8 months. We've been separated for 3 months and now I'd like to meet her since he wants to have the children be around both of them while he has visitation every other Sunday for 3 hours. She is currently going through a divorce from her husband who is known to have drug abuse problems.
My husband and I still talk but he says at this point, he doesn't want to fix our relationship; he's wanting to move forward with her.
What are the best questions to ask my husband's new female partner when introducing her into the lives of our three young children? How can I trust her after she has been a part of what has been done to our family?
This must have been a very painful time for you, and for your children too. It's really commendable of you that you are taking such a practical, rational approach to the situation.
Of course, I have no knowledge about the personalities involved. However, chances are that this other woman is not a bad person, but someone who drifted into an affair because she was suffering hell at home. It's a pity that she got her comfort from a married man, but that's a fact and cannot be undone. It's very mature of you that you are willing to talk with her, for the children's benefit.
My approach to life is that while responsibility is very important, blame doesn't do anyone any good. So, if you can talk with her (and him) without blaming, then you can focus on the future, which is responsibility from all three of you for the children. I would suggest you say something to this effect to her.
I don't know how old your children are. However, in a new relationship like your husband's, the best strategy is for the parent to be responsible for caring, discipline and decisions regarding the children, with the new partner taking a silent, back role.
Before meeting her, think out in detail what your rules, expectations, and hopes are for each child. She may sometimes be in the position of having to care for them in their father's absence, so you could ask her to ensure that the kids have a consistent upbringing in both places. If she wants it, you could give her a written list of what they are used to.
And make sure that you are not only a mother. You are also a person, and deserve to have something in life that is for you. Get as much enjoyment, beauty, creativity and meaning in your life as you can. At my website, I have a chapter from a coming book. Since the book will be on depression, the title is "First Aid for Depression" but actually the recommendations are first aid for any source of distress. I am sure you will benefit from reading it, at http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/firstaid.html
This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com