I am a 30-year-old woman with an 11-year-old daughter. I have recently filed for divorce, but it is not final yet. I have been married for 12 years, so obviously I was very young when I married.
I have been seeing this guy for the past 5 weekends in a row now. He is actually my friend’s ex-husband who I have known for about 10 years now. We have always been attracted to each other, but never did anything about it since we were married. I tried everything to save my marriage but my husband blew it big time by lying, abusing alcohol, getting a DWI and not going to probation, getting a warrant, etc. Actually we have had trouble for the last couple of years and he refused to go to a counselor with me.
The new guy has all of the qualities I always wished my husband had. He has two daughters, one of which is my friend’s daughter and my godchild and a good friend of my daughters. Even though she is not his, he treats her as if she is. He spends time with her every other weekend. He is such a sweet and caring single dad. I could never get my husband to do family activities like this or participate much in our daughter’s life.
I am getting mixed advice from my friends and family about this situation and I’m hoping you can give me your expert advice. My best friend says that it usually doesn’t work out with the rebound guy and that I should be dating other people and learning to be alone. My mom and step dad say that I definitely should not start a serious relationship right now. My dad and brother say that I should be true to my heart and everything will work out fine and if it doesn’t, then it will be a learning experience.
I am happier right now than I have been in a very long time and I feel like I should follow my heart. I am having so much fun and he is so affectionate and sweet with me. He says he feels like a high school kid again and I feel the same way.
So my question is “Can it work out with the rebound guy?” and if it can, when should we tell our kids (my daughter knows nothing about him) and my friend, etc? Do you think this is a bad idea, because I don’t see how something that feels so good can be so bad?
Oh, you want “EXPERT advice”, eh? Well, let’s see what we can do!
It appears that your friend doesn’t know you’re dating her ex-husband, but if she’s really your “friend”, she should. Otherwise, your friendship is in for a real crash because eventually you’re going to have to spill it. What would happen if 4 or 5 months down the road you ‘fess up’ rather than now? She’s not going to be too happy about things! She may not be how either, but at least it’ll be easier than if you wait.
Thus, the very first thing I’d do is to have a heart-to-heart with your friend. Explain that you and her ex are interested in dating (I don’t think you should feel the need to discuss what has already happened however), and that; while you know you have every right to do so, you’re interested in your friendship too. You hope that she will be comfortable with the idea.
Secondly, to hell with your family’s opinions! This isn’t exactly a “rebound” relationship just because it’s the first one after your divorce. Either way you should do what YOU want to do. Your family and friends don’t have to live your life for you – you have to do that.
Finally, regarding your daughter (and his kids), I wouldn’t bring them into it until you have something more solid. Give yourself at least a few more months to be sure this is what you both want and then, bring the kids into it. After all, they have a stake in all this too – it’s their parents, and their lives that are going to be affected by the decision. Further, this is a good opportunity for them to learn how “adults” deal with complex relationships – they plan, they consult, and they get along, all with love and respect for each other.
One last piece of advice: once you and your boyfriend establish something more firm, (pardon the expression!), I’d suggest that he talk to your ex-husband. Here’s why: your daughter is also your ex’s! He may have very specific ideas on how he wants his daughter raised, and might impart some of this to you and your boyfriend. This is just courtesy as your ex is never going to be out of your, or more important, your daughter’s, life.