Understandable Emotions from a Single Mom

as seen in Brooklyn Family Magazine and on NYParenting.com

Dear Sharon,

My ex husband is living with a woman. She likes my kids and I’m glad for that but I’m having some uncomfortable feelings about it too. He has partial custody and they stay there two nights a week. They like her a lot and somehow it makes me feel bad and jealous and I get angry with myself for having these feelings. What do you think?

Dear Mom,

Thanks for your honest question. I think many people in your situation have the same understandable reactions.

Single parents often are surprised by and get “angry at themselves” when even a hint of insecurity or jealousy surfaces when a “step parent” figure appears.

Intellectually, as you mentioned in your question, moms and dads know that children benefit from positive relationships with any adult who enjoys their company and cares about their well -being. The friend or partner of a parent can be a nice addition to any child’s life. Whatever is good for children is ultimately good for parents but intellectual understanding by itself does not necessarily keep emotions at bay.

Talking to other single moms about jealousies and other aspects of parenting after divorce can help a great deal. Hearing similar stories can break through the isolation that is often a big stumbling block for any parent dilemma. Having opportunities to laugh or strategize about embarrassing or complicated topics can also greatly lighten almost any load.

It is also useful to remember that the mother child bond is deep and unique and there is no set of circumstances that can change that reality.

I am sorry that you are feeling emotional pangs associated with this addition to your children’s lives but I trust that over time your very understandable response will fade. I predict that in five years all kinds of changes will happen in the life of your family that will put this phase in a different perspective.