For most single and divorced parents, getting to meet an ex's new boyfriend or girlfriend before the kids do is not even an option. Your ex wouldn't think of even bothering to do that, but if your ex takes your opinion seriously and wants you to get a feel for his new partner before your children meet her, do you go? Or do you say, "No thanks"?
In my opinion, unless it's incredibly hard for you (we'll discuss this later), you should go!
For my ex and me, he is introducing me to his new girlfriend before my daughter meets her, and to be honest, I am pretty torn about the whole meetup. I know it's the right thing to do and I am glad he is arranging this as I would not be happy with her meeting a complete and total stranger, but in my head I'm thinking, "What do I say? What do I ask, or not ask?" Not to mention I think it's too soon for our kid to meet her, but since that's out of my control, I'm focusing on what I can control and that's the questions I ask this woman.
If you're going to meet your ex's new love before the kids do, keep in mind a few key things:
First things first, face the reality that even if you think the person is awful, most likely your ex won't care. He might say you're being jealous even if the woman is a total train wreck. If this person is a terror on "heels," take notes and be sure to document any unusual behaviors. If you're concerned about your child's safety with this person, contact your lawyer or mediator. You can venture to speak to your ex as well, and in fact if he's asked you to meet her, chances are you two get along well enough that you can bring up your concerns, but don't expect him to agree with you.
Most likely, though, the new lady will be simply fine but possibly . . . b*tchy or cold or perhaps not your cup of tea. In that case, will dealing with her be a walk in the park? Nope, but consider this before you decide to make her a coffin:
She might be really nervous to meet you. Actually, I would bet she is! Cut her some slack even though you most likely don't want to by assuming that she's not at ease around you for this first meeting and so she's not apt to be herself completely.
If she is quiet, talks too fast, speaks briefly, is stiff, or is too jittery, you can bet your bottom dollar that the woman is nervous. Try to picture the scenario from her eyes. She's meeting the MOTHER of her new man's children . . . and possibly his ex-wife too. You are big shoes to fill, lady.
Not the Spanish Inquisition
As much as you secretly — or not so secretly — want to know everything about this woman who will be around your kids, don't turn into a dictator Mama Bear! Here are some good questions to ask:
- Where do you work? Do you enjoy what you do? What type of schedule do you have?
- Do you live alone or with people or family? This is an important question because if your kid spends time with this woman, she will most likely be interacting with whomever this woman lives with if she doesn't live alone.
- If she's a mom, ask about her kids! What mother doesn't like to talk about her children? This will also relax her a bit.
- What she enjoys doing.
You shouldn't ask about their relationship unless things are moving quickly and you're concerned or they're about to get married and you are wondering (if you don't know already) where they plan to live. Even if you're concerned about the relationship's speed, I wouldn't say much because neither your ex nor the new lady will care.
You should tell her you want to get things off to a good start and keep things peaceful and easy for the sake of your children and hers (if she has them). That's why it is crucial to treat this meet and greet as a friendly thing, asking her about her daily life as if you met a new friend.
Talk About Your Child
This woman doesn't know your little one/s yet. Tell her about your kids. Tell her things you might want her to know so when she is around your children, she knows little nuances about them. She won't learn much by you simply telling her, but it's a start and keeps the conversation where it belongs: on how this woman will interact with your child.
Up the Class
Afterward, as long as no hair is pulled by either party (jeez, let's hope not!), send a card of thanks for meeting you through the mail or your ex. It's a very mature thing to meet a new partner before introductions to the kids are made, and this nice gesture sets the tone for a good or as good as possible relationship with the new woman.
Time and Place
Whatever you do, keep the meetup casual like coffee, and avoid alcohol and bars. A drink or two and people could start to get too loose with their words, if you know what I mean.
Also, meet the new love when you're not feeling drained or cranky. In other words, not when you're suffering from a severe case of PMS or coming down with a cold. Meeting a new love can be hard, so give yourself a leg up by being and feeling your best!
No matter what, you may not like this new woman even if you do everything right and so does she, but the point is to keep things as drama-free as possible no matter how she might behave. You have kids watching you: set the right example and you'll be able to sleep peacefully at night.