Visitation: Just For Dad or His Girlfriend Too?
You may accidentally meet The Girlfriend inside the grocery store with no makeup on, wearing your workout attire from trip to the gym five hours ago… or maybe you spot her on your way out of a bar, as you arrogantly walk past with your girls at your side. You never know, you may be like me and meet the new girlfriend when she comes down the stairs of the house she now shares with your ex and your son, as you’re picking up your little guy for the weekend. However and whenever you meet, it’s awkward, stressful and laced with anxiety.
It’s taken some time for me to get used to the idea of my ex’s girlfriend. I basically ignored her existence for at least a year, all subconsciously of course. Actually, we all pretended she didn’t exist – my ex, my son and myself – by never really mentioning her, ever. It’s not like I disliked her or wanted to be back with my ex, it was just the idea of her that bothered me for some reason.
After some soul-searching, I realized, her being The Girlfriend isn’t what boiled my blood. It was being a mother figure to my son that really got to me. Since then, I’ve dealt with that issue and tried to ”Let Go” as they say…but the dynamic is still wierd and awkward to me, even after several friendly encounters and even a family dinner at their house (which I would advise against for anyone thinking of doing this… I have two words for you – Neutral Ground)
Is Visitation Just for Dad?
The latest awkward situation began this morning, while listening to my voice mail. In between the work messages, I hear, “…I will be out-of-town for a few days, but ‘Girlfriend’ will pick him on Thursday… Just wanted to let you know.”
I sat there in a daze, staring at the kitchen counter. The phone continued to play back messages into my ear, but my brain was no longer listening. Instead it was asking a string of questions like, “How do we feel about this?” “Why is this bothering us?” “Are we just being controlling here or is this truly not acceptable?”
Unfortunately, here I am, hours later with the brain still asking the same questions. Am I overreacting? Should my son go to his Dad’s house during his normal visitation schedule, even though Dad won’t be there? I know it’s important for him to have a relationship with The Girlfriend, but does that extend to her getting visitation too?