Dear Dr. Romance:

I found one your article "Dr. Romance: Setting Boundaries with Your Ex" on and wanted to reach out to a professional that is an expert with Divorce, families and integrating a new partner.  I am single, 30, never been married, no kids. I am dating a divorced man who has four children in grammar school. I live in a different state and  have not met the children yet. And we are hitting road blocks in our relationship due to the scenario below.

In a nut shell, he and his Ex wife have established a continued  relationship for the children.  He is supporting her and the children financially (Ex does not work). They have been divorced for between 9 and 10 years.  He will see his children 90 percent of the time at her  place, cooking dinners, watching movies... they do not do the split home arrangement. They actively still do vacations together, and for holidays, family gatherings (both sides) and sporting events both  parents are there.  He has made it very clear to me that his children comes first, I completely support that. Our relationship has been rocky and he wants to have "the best of both worlds", meaning bringing in a new girlfriend and having kids, family and Ex wife accept her.  He has great fear due to a past experience bringing in a girlfriend and the (within 2 years of them being divorced) Ex wife being "insecure" and putting limitations on the kids visits and on a schedule.  His fear is that she will do it again even after 9 years of being divorced.

I need a professional assistance on how I should evaluate, support and gather information on what is a healthy way to go about this situation.

Dear Reader:

This is a very difficult situation.  I seriously think you should be very careful here.  You will always be second best.  I actually admire what your friend is doing for his children, but I've seen other scenarios like this, and they don't end well for the 'other woman' which is what you are. Why don't you consider finding a man who is actually available for a relationship?  Your guy is really living in a fantasy world, and he doesn't like confrontation. That means he will do anything to pacify his ex.  She knows she can manipulate him, so she'll never be OK with his girlfriend. You'll always come up short.  So, consider whether you want to spend every holiday alone in the future.   I suggest you read How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free and the articles: "Letting Go Takes Love" and "You Be the Judge"  You need the judgement and courage to let go of this relationship. There's nothing available for you here.


Couple and Free 4th Ed

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.