Dear Dr. G.,
My husband and I have been divorced for five years. We have three children together.They are 13, 15, and 11. The older two are girls and the little one is a boy. My former husband seems to have a pattern of relationships where he gets seriously involved with a girlfriend for about 9 months and then seems to abruptly break up with them. Yes, he introduces all of these women to my kids.I am worried about the impact that this behavior may have on my children. My ex has no hesitation about involving these women in my kids' lives even though he probably knows that they are only in his life temporarily.
I have three questions:
1. What are my kids learning from this?
2. Are they going to be traumatized by the constant introductions to women and then their abrupt exit from their lives?
3. Should I forbid my ex from having the kids over when his girlfriends are at his house?
Please advise. I don't have a clue about what to do.
A Confused Mom
Good for you that you are looking out for your kids. My first question for you is whether or not the kids have expressed any distress about the arrival and departure of these women in their father's life and in their lives. It would be a good idea for both you AND your ex-husband to discuss this with them. While you may not be able to change your ex-husband's behavior you may be able to help your children deal with their feelings. They may surprise you by telling you that they are used to their father's patterns. On the other hand, at least one of them may be distressed. If so, explain to that child that their primary attachment at this point should be to you and their dad.