Dad worries about the kids when ex-wife marries

SINGLE FILE

February 28, 1993|By SUSAN DEITZ

Q: My ex-wife married a man who appeared on the scene only a month ago. She said she was married civilly and plans a church wedding in the future. My concern is for our kids, 9 and 12. We have joint custody -- alternating every two weeks. (I think she told me the part about the church wedding so that she could live with her friend until then, with the kids in tow.)

I wish her well, but the children do not know this man. I myself have never met him. Should I be worried?

A: Concern is more fitting here, since you are not a long-distance parent and will be with your children two weeks out of every month to check on their welfare and provide stability. For the next few months, until things settle down with their mother, and the new man in her life has a chance to get to know them, be there completely for your kids.

In other words, build solid togetherness among the three of you without any outside intervention -- i.e., another woman. Make their times with you secure and steady; right now your children need a dependable, stable home life with you.

And consider giving a small dinner party for your ex-wife and her new husband, to meet him and smooth out relations between the two families. Ask your kids how they would feel about this and whether they could handle the challenge. (Ask yourself the same question.) Your role in the coming months is to promote harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Q: Do you think that dating younger men can cause any special problems?

A: Much of the problematical side of the issue depends on the woman involved and her level of insecurity.

If you feel (or act!) like his mother, are fearful of public opinion or panic at the sight of a new wrinkle, you may want to reconsider choosing a younger partner. Those less confident of their allure and abilities tendto stay with the usual, a man older than themselves. They are the women who are scared of earning more or knowing more than the man they are with; so be it. But the women who are in the partnership mode, moving away from economic dependency and toward broader romantic horizons, realize that a younger man thinks more like they do, shunning the role-playing of older companions and embracing the independence of wholeness.

Dear Readers: Jessica's letter to this column really stirred the pot. Many men have written in, asking my help in meeting her and saying that the caliber of women out there is so bad they were really excited to know that such a terrific lady existed and was looking for a man who fit the bill.

You must know by now that such a thing is not possible through "Single File" -- that never in the 17 years I've been writing this column have I connected two readers for romantic purposes. Doing that is simply too great a responsibility, even though those people usually deserved to meet one another.

Believe me, it's difficult not to be able to play matchmaker when I can see the positive potential of the couple. But good sense prevails, and so I have to send my regrets to two people who should probably meet.

One other item: The poor caliber of singles that some of you are meeting might be explained by your over-zealousness -- desperation -- to find love. It just could be that the singles who are more interesting and worthwhile are not in the "meet market" mentality, but are out there doing things, active and involved and focused on other aspects of living. Just a thought.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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