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My ex husband and I separated 10 months ago.  It has been a fairly calm and amicable divorce.  We have 2 boys ages 6 and 2.  They mostly live with me and dad has them every other weekend. Dad has started dating a woman 2-3 months ago that lives out of town and also has two children ages 2 and 12.  About 2 weeks into their relationship he had her and her 2 children over for dinner.  At that time I wasn't too concerned because I didn't hear of her or her kids again and I assumed it was a friend. There did not seem to be any conversation with our kids about her or who she was.
6 weeks after that dinner meeting my oldest came home from dads one weekend crying because he felt left out at dads.  It turns out she & her 2 kids came to stay the weekend with my ex and our kids.  Her 2 year old slept in a crib in the master bedroom with dad & his girlfriend.  My kids had their own room and the 12 year old girl slept on the couch.  I was not aware of this before it happened and my oldest son was told on the day it was happening that dad "had a friend that was coming to stay the weekend with her 2 kids" I believe this was the ONLY conversation with my children about this new relationship.  It has now been almost 3 weeks since that incident.  My ex and I have discussed it in detail and decided that as of right now she & her kids will not be around our kids until he & I feel the kids are ready and will discuss how & when the reintroduction will take place and at a much slower pace.
This week my ex comes over to tell me that she and her kids are relocating to our city (in 2 months)& they will be staying with him until she can get on her feet.   He only lives in a 2 bedroom house and I am VERY concerned about how the children will react to this new living situation.  He does not seem open to alternate arrangements at this time.  So what are some things I can do or discuss with my children to try to minimize the effect this will have on them in the long run.  
Please remember that he only has them every other weekend and at this time she lives out of town so there will be MINIMAL contact  between her  family and  his between now & moving day.


Thanks for writing. You have my deepest sympathy for having to watch this sad and damaging scene unfold before your eyes.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about what dad does. If he chooses to put himself before the comfortable and secure environment his kids need during this changing time then that's the way it is. In this case they have one parent left who can help them make it through this. But you are asking where to go from there and. I feel that what I am going to tell you will not be what you'd like to hear, but here goes: Focus on what you can control which is your own household. Adopt a neutral attitude and energy about what is going  on with your ex in regards to your kids ... don't judge it or talk about it with them. If they talk then listen, but only talk if it has to do with their feelings, like "I'm sorry this is so difficult for you." When we talk positively or negatively about the father of our children it damages our children. So, in answering your question, there isn't much you can do or discuss other than to create a loving home for them on your side of the family coin. The kids will figure out day's ridiculousness on their own, and that's how it should be.

I wish you the best,

Doctor Becky


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