Help! My ex has a new girlfriend and she’s trying to take my place!
Dear Dr. Vicki:
My ex has a new girlfriend and I need to know if she is crossing the line or if I’m overreacting. There are truly no feelings left between my daughter’s father and I. His now live-in girlfriend goes out of her way to do little things to spite me– removing my daughter’s nail polish that I did and repainting it a new color, telling me she now understands motherly love, toting my toddler around to HER work to show off… am I being crazy? How can I stop this from getting to me? Talking to the father is no use; he’s immature and hates me for leaving him to begin with. I feel like this woman is trying to steal my child!!!
Dr. Vicki’s response:
Take a deep breath…and let it out. Now take another one…and let it out. Great. Now you are calmer and can take in this information.
You are over-reacting. Why are you feeling so insecure? Just because your ex has a new girlfriend does not mean you have anything to worry about. Bottom line…you are the mom and she will never be. She can’t steal your child. The only way you lose is if you allow yourself to be affected by her petty behaviors. YOU are the mom. That’s something she will never be and she may be envious of you. Her behavior may seem to be personally directed at you—like a spiteful thing. But it may not be. She may just enjoy your little girl and you may be reading intent into it.
If your ex has a new girlfriend, it’s better that she care about your daughter rather than shunning her or competing with her for dad’s attention. She could be someone who didn’t like kids. So, better this way.
What to do? First, what not to do—don’t get into this with her. Do not allow your daughter to be a pawn. Don’t make her poor little finger nails a battle ground of constant nail color changes. Recognize this is not a tug of war, unless you pick up the rope. Instead, take the high road. Leave the polish on and tell her how much you like the color. Thank her for caring about your daughter. Tell her you can only hope that she has a child of her own some day so that she can really know what it’s like to be someone’s mother.
Because your ex has a new girlfriend, there may be times that you will need to really take a stand. Leave line-crossing for the really important issues, such as what your daughter may/may not call this woman (e.g.–NOT Mommy) or what she is/isn’t allowed to do with her (e.g.–NOT take her to the doctor’s, for a haircut, etc.) or when she can/can’t take care of her (e.g.–NOT when dad isn’t around and she needs a sitter.)
Remember: This girlfriend may come or go. No matter how many times your ex has a new girlfriend…YOU are the mother. It is in your daughter’s best interest that she not feel animosity or tension between you and the girlfriend. This will only confuse her. As long as your daughter knows who her mommy is and the girlfriend treats her well, is there really a problem?
Enjoy your kids!
Have you ever been in a situation like this? What advice would you give this mom?