Breakups are cut from that slice of life events that don’t seem as horrible as they actually are until you go through them yourself, like being audited or having walking pneumonia.
Only, unlike those other things, you generally don’t have emotion invested. Sobbing in the tax man’s lap might seem like the sum of hurt feelings, but try having your heart broken. Most folks would gladly fork over a few duckets to the IRS rather than experience that kind of agony firsthand.
But thankfully time does — or should — heal those wounds and you move on. Unfortunately, so will your ex, which means their new love interest will inevitably be presented to your children. And that can raise the hackles of many a mom. I know because it sure irked my soul when my daughter’s father started dating and paraded his new chicks around The Girl.
The pain from our split was still very, very fresh. I was bleeding from the internal wounds of heartache (that sounds like something an anguished writer would say, doesn’t it?) and there he was with a new girlfriend. It was hard to accept. But it wasn’t the reason why I intercepted his lady friends from chilling with my child.
I was serious about my baby not being around just any ol’ body. My friends in college joked that Skylar was an urban legend. She rarely came to campus, even though I was still a student trying to finish my degree when she was born. People smoked weed and cursed and played loud music in the dorms. There were unsavory characters there too, and if somebody so much as passed gas when I was walking down the hallway with my precious cargo, I was going to be ready to cut a sucka. It just wasn’t a kid-friendly environment, so it was best to not bring her around.
I was the same way when it came to personal relationships. I love all of my friends — and I know some of y’all read my blogs, so I apologize in advance — but not everybody has had the luxury of spending loads of time with my kid. Even though they’re great friends to me, they’re not necessarily good influences on her. When kids are young, you have to watch who you’re letting in their space. So I had a few beloved sistagirls who heard stories about The Girl, who saw new pictures of The Girl, who even bought little gifts for The Girl, but didn’t spend much time with her.
So of course, if I put that much thought into who I was greenlighting in my own life, I was cautious about letting her father’s latest flavor of the month breathe her air. Especially because he didn’t have the strongest moral compass.
But I was especially passionate that it would be confusing to her to have all of these new adults popping in and out of her life. He was running through them around that time — tasting the rainbow of his revived singleness, no doubt — and there were quite a few who came, stayed, bit the dust, and became part of his post-breakup rebachelorization program. When he ran into and settled down with a lady he’d known since he was a kid, though, my attitude about his girl toys started to change. She had some permanence to her. It wasn’t a fling or a casual little affair.
Plus, by the time they got together, I was good and over any lingering lovey dovey feelings that I’d been harboring for him. I was able to talk with her without getting jealous or envious or hurt. If she wanted him, honey, she could have him.
On my end, I’ve always been equally persnickety about guys meeting The Girl. If somebody laid eyes on Skylar in person, he had to know he was in there. Not that I’ve done a vast amount of dating, but she’s only been introduced to the Marathon Dude, who I was with for eight, long, engagement-ringless years, and my boyfriend now. I just haven’t seen any reason to expose her to anyone else, either because I knew they weren’t worth it or because they weren’t going to add anything to her life.
Now that Skylar’s old enough to feel folks out for herself, I don’t have to guard her as forcefully as I used to. I’m pretty sure her father doesn’t think this deeply about it, but there’s an upside to his being barely in the picture: we don’t have to think about it that often, either.
Do you mind if your ex's new woman is around your child?
Image via nandadevieast/Flickr