Despite the fact that we’ve only been living apart for six months, I wasn’t at all surprised when my ex told me that he had met someone else. I felt no jealousy or emotion. I left him and it was the best decision I ever made.
But, I am not ready for a stepmother to enter our co-parenting relationship. Cygnet, now 17 months, has endured a lot of change in his short life, and I don’t believe that he is ready to meet a stepmother yet either.
My ex said that we needed to meet, as a priority. This always makes me nervous. I know that he is never going to tell me that I am doing a great job as a mother, or that he has reconsidered his finances (and his integrity!) and believes that he should be giving me more money for the maintenance of our son. But, things had been on an even keel. We had started to settle into a routine. I was beginning to think that co-parenting was getting easier.
I feared that he wanted to discuss taking our son away on holiday for a week at Easter. I also wondered whether he was going to raise the subject of getting him christened a Catholic again – my ex spent time with his mother over christmas and I suspect she will have put pressure on him. I had wondered whether he had met someone. I knew that meeting someone new was his top priority.
We started by talking about the cat. My ex is going away for a week next week and wants me to feed his cat whilst he is away. I agreed.
My ex then told me that he had met someone else. He said they had only been:
“seeing each other for about three weeks”
but that he wanted me to know that:
“it was getting very serious very quickly”.
I am not really sure what this means. They are going to Gambia to get some winter sun next week, so I wonder whether they will come back engaged to be married. My ex is Prince Charming, and I know that in these early stages of their whirlwind romance she will be getting the charm offensive, full throttle!
She is a mother with two children aged five and six. My ex has met her children.
He said he wanted to introduce her to Cygnet, our son.
“It is quite difficult [for them] to spend time together” he said
“because she is looking after her children” and my ex
“has our son for half of the weekend”. “It would just make things a lot easier if she could meet Cygnet”.
I was noncommittal, said I couldn’t give an answer there and then and that I needed to think about it.
I don’t believe in the myth of the evil stepmother. I know that many of you are stepmothers. I also know that my ex’s new partner is (was) as single mother herself. She has children of five and six. She will have been through some really really tough times whatever the circumstances of her break-up. We have a lot in common. She may well have been going through the exact same feelings that I am going through now if/when her ex husband met a new woman.
I know that I was beginning to settle into our co-parenting régime and was beginning to relax into my new life as a single mum with a just about amicable (stretching the definition slightly) relationship with my ex. I resent that this has been thrown at me so fast and so soon.
I don’t believe that it is in Cygnet’s best interests either. He is also just settling into our co-parenting régime after a lot of turmoil of moving house, moving nursery, having two beds and flip-flopping between Mummy’s flat and Daddy’s house. I think it would be too much for him. Too much, too soon.
I know for some there is such a thing as love at first sight, but I can’t help but think that “seeing each other for about three weeks” doesn’t allow much time to build solid foundations, to come to terms with each other’s pasts, to discuss a vision for the future.
I want those foundations to be solid, for the past to have been aired and for the future to have been discussed before Cygnet is introduced.
I plan to say this to my ex, but when my son is only 17 months old, and can’t recount his days with Daddy, how do I know that my ex is telling me the truth? Those split weekends, those “days with Daddy” may well be days en famille (my son, my ex, the new woman and her two children) already.