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Open smile on a friendly shore

November 16, 2010

(My piece went up at The Huffington Post!)

So, soooooo many people have been asking LOD and me about when we’re going to write about how we handle dating and new relationships.

Your guess is as good as ours.

We’ve agreed on some things: no sleepovers with the kids there, and if things get serious enough with someone that we’d co-habit with or get married to, we’ll give the other a heads-up first before telling the kids.

But really, I think we just expect each other to use our heads. We each have three nights without the children per week. That’s totally enough time to eat chocolate pudding for dinner and fall asleep at 8:45 on the couch have a vibrant and satisfying dating life on our own time and not drag the kids into anything that isn’t serious.

Bottom line: I have no idea if LOD’s dating anyone*, and LOD has no idea if I’m dating anyone.

Which is the way it should be, no? I mean, how weird and creepy would it be to know about each others’ dating lives? The only person I can imagine less wanting to discuss men with than LOD is my dad.

So no, we really can’t talk about dating. I am hoping that eventually we each find love again, and that those people are decent people who are good to the kids. I don’t know if there’s much else that we should hope for.

* I am fairly certain that he’s not dating anyone at this exact moment, based solely on the presence of his astoundingly horrifying mustache. He’s growing it to raise money to fight prostate cancer, and it sounds like a small thing, but holy cats is this thing difficult to look at. It’s added a whole new dimension to pickup, mainly my talking to him from the side so I don’t have to look at his Wilford Brimleyness. If you have a few extra bucks, please consider donating to his Mo page, because some good needs to come out of this. Yeesh.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    November 16, 2010 2:13 pm

    Ooooh, my friend, there are SO MANY complicating factors when a step-parent is added. There are many, many things you should hope for if one of you remarries.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      November 16, 2010 2:16 pm

      Yeah, but how would we know that now? The way things are, today, is radically different and radically better than I could have thought to want last year, the year before, the year before that. I feel like we just have to focus on being decent to each other now so we can navigate through whatever happens when it does, instead of borrowing trouble by crafting some fantasy of future hypothetical partners.

      • Jessica permalink
        November 16, 2010 2:20 pm

        No, definitely don’t borrow trouble. It’s just that this: “I am hoping that eventually we each find love again, and that those people are decent people who are good to the kids. I don’t know if there’s much else that we should hope for.” … Sounded to me like you were really minimizing the impact of step-parents/step-siblings/step-families in general.

        FTR: I think your plan to keep dating life separate from kid life as long as possible is a good one.

      • askmoxie permalink*
        November 16, 2010 2:29 pm

        Oh, no, not minimizing it. Just not wanting to try to control it, because who can?

        OK, I just thought of my next post for HuffPo, based on your “FTR.” Thank you!

  2. LOD permalink*
    November 16, 2010 2:15 pm

    This is the best endorsement I could have hoped for, so I’ll take it. But I’ll have you know that two (2) people at my reading last night, independently of the other, said I look like Sean Connery. I’ll take that, too.

  3. November 16, 2010 4:14 pm

    So accidentally leaving one’s bra on the back of the couch on a day when one’s ex is bringing the kids home early and so has a key is perhaps not the best way to let him know one is dating again? You know, theoretically speaking.

    • LOD permalink*
      November 16, 2010 6:11 pm

      If leaving your underwear lying around the apartment is a sign that you’re dating someone else, then Moxie has had someone on the side since the day I met her. 🙂

      • Jen permalink
        November 16, 2010 10:40 pm

        Hah. No, actually it was more a confluence of factors that made it fairly clear I’d had someone over the night before, that was just the most obvious one. It was just … awkward. The fact that my ex is at my house so much with the girls is something that makes the whole dating thing just so very weird.

  4. Chrissy permalink
    November 16, 2010 5:36 pm

    I agree with you wholeheartedly – new relationships should be out of the kids world and definitely not in place until all are in a better place. But how does one deal with the ex throwing the new girlfriend in my and the kids face? She is actually part of the reason for our divorce and lack of counseling through our problems, so I don’t see her as a good option to step-parent my girls. Ex on the other hand thinks she’s perfect – and this only after knowing her 6 months.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      November 16, 2010 5:42 pm

      Oh, man. That sucks. It would be one thing to have an ex dating someone you don’t trust, but another thing entirely to have her be part of the breakup. Do you have any of this spelled out in your settlement agreement? Limits on time they spend with the girlfriend, limited sleepovers, etc.?

      • Chrissy permalink
        November 16, 2010 11:10 pm

        Unfortunately, no. My atty (who’s been doing this a long time in our county) said that judges remove those items when they go through the courts, and since Ex and I settled on an agreement without a hearing, that was one thing I compromised on just to get him to agree to less custody. Another sad part of all this is that our girls’ counselors have told him repeatedly that he shouldn’t be doing this until a much later time in order to give the girls time to heal. His response is that they (counselors) don’t know what they are talking about. Lord, look after the kids!

  5. Mark permalink
    November 16, 2010 7:34 pm

    Man oh man, I was hoping you’d have some words of wisdom on this subject. My ex not only cheated for the last year of our relationship, (including while we were theoretically exploring reconciliation), she immediately jumped in the sack with yet ANOTHER guy else who is already spending the night the majority of the time, as well being integrated in and consulted on parenting decisions after only a few months. And she wonders why I’m a basket case and worrying that she’s trying to replace me as a father.

    • LERS permalink
      November 16, 2010 7:56 pm

      That just sucks Mark. You have my sympathy and empathy, particularly as I am now dating a man in a very similar situation to what you’ve just described. My focus has been with my partner and his kids to help him be the best parent he can be with them and for them to enjoy their time with us to build a happy memory bank.
      You can’t control what happens in the ex’s house (nor should you try because this will lead to pain, resentment and litigation) you can control your relationship with the kids.

  6. November 17, 2010 9:47 am

    One of the hardest things about our breakup was the infidelity before and the major dating immediately after. And the advice is almost as useless as saying to your kid, “when you’re older, you’ll understand.” It doesn’t help at the moment, and the moment is what you’re dealing with.

    Well, when you’re out of the marriage longer, you’ll understand. Nope, didn’t help, did it?

    Okay, try this: Your deal is not with your ex or your ex’s new friend. It’s with your kids. I agree that it’s good to keep your sex life under wraps until the ink is dry, but if your ex doesn’t see it that way, it is not within your control. Let it go. You be cool and control what you can, and, honestly, at this moment in your life, you’re doing well to control the stupid, hurt things you do, never mind the stupid, hurt things somebody else does.

    Some day the kids will sort it all out, and, if you were cool, you’ll get credit for it then.

  7. Heather permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:22 pm

    I just wanted to say how happy I am to see this blog. My parents split up twice, and I always felt that they’d be happier apart. Sometime after having children they became just friends, and great friends at that. The first time they split up, I was 13 and the second, I was 20. It was painful and hard for both of them, but they did it and it’s what was best for both them and their children. It was never dramatic and I never saw them fight.

    I’ve always said that divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a marriage. In fact, in a lot of situations, it’s creates room for friendship, romance and good parenting. My intention in writing this isn’t to minimize the difficulties of parenting through a split, but to say thanks for putting your experiences out there for others to see.

  8. November 23, 2010 3:11 am

    I tried to get my ex to meet my husband and me, just to get acquainted and all that.

    He ignored me. He has since managed to meet and be polite to mr webbis, but he and his wife remain deeply critical of the two of us…most recently because we let my nearly-14-year-old (who is a straight-A student) attend the midnight premiere of HP7. Horrors! And she was punished for this, by the way, while it was perfectly okay for her older sister (my eldest) to attend a night football game – high school playoffs – that got her home around 1:00…presumably because he likes football and does not like HP.

    Yes, he is actually attempting to set the rules at OUR house, so I am not at all sure what to do with that. I mention my troubles only because your situation makes me so happy that someone out there is doing it right – CAN do it right.

    Even though you will have ups and downs, your communication style virtually assures that you are at least trying to hear what the other parent is saying.

    Go you!

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