Shacking Up After Divorce: Considering the Kids

(Last Updated On: October 12, 2019)

This is a journal entry from May 2012 where I express my feelings and share my experience with shacking up after divorce as a result of my ex doing exactly that, almost immediately after we split up.

Boy, this has taken time to sink in, but, it’s hard to even type the words:  Don’s got some chick living with him already! And when I say already, I mean since early April. I’m just now getting around to really thinking about it. I found out from Nathan, because he kept saying “Andrea this and Andrea that”, well not too often, but I’m quick to catch on. I asked him: “Nate, who is Andrea ?”  “The girl who stays at Daddy’s”. Well, of course, getting the news from Nathan, I can’t really react.   I asked Don later about Andrea and the situation. Is she living there or just spending the night occasionally? Maybe he could have sleepovers on the 15 nights a month that he doesn’t have Nate there? I didn’t get much response to my questions. Jesus, it was like he didn’t even HAVE any answers!


Well, I got around to really sinking the teeth of my brain into it over the past two days, and it has been a rough time. What really got me was when I found out this week that there is a dog. Which means Nate has a dog; sort of. So tonight I asked Don about the dog because Nate had told me that the dog bit him, though there was no evidence of that.

I reiterated my feelings about shacking up after divorce to Don. I didn’t think it was a good decision to just have someone that he just met move in and be part of Nate’s life. What happens when/if she no longer wants to be with Don? When she leaves Don, she leaves Nate too, and because he is so open to love, you know, that will hurt. When I ask Don about the dog biting Nate, he informs me that Nate loves the dog and even wants to sleep with him at night. Which goes to my point.

So I ask Don: “Whose dog is it? Is it Andrea’s dog, or Nate’s dog? Because now when/if Andrea leaves, not only does he lose her, he also loses the dog, which we’ve already established, he loves. And probably thinks is HIS! That is going to hurt. And when I think of that, as his mother, I feel two things: worry and sadness that he will have to experience that, and also considerations about how I will help him to cope with the painful things that will happen in life. I have a feeling Andrea and the dog will be my first experience with this. Maybe I’ll be wrong.

I realize that Nate will experience pain and loss in life, and I’m prepared to help him through that. BUT, what really has me steamed right now, is the fact that Don didn’t even bother to take any of this into account before making such a major decision! Didn’t even bother to run through in his mind the possibility that it could have a negative impact on our kid. While it’s true that Don having a good relationship with someone could be very beneficial, it is just way too soon to know that, or even speculate about it! I’m so disappointed that he didn’t even take any time for himself to evaluate, consider, or …he just jumped into a rebound relationship of such magnitude!

Now, I don’t claim to know the EXACT length of time before you have your “friend” stay over when your kid is there, how long it should be before someone I like a lot spends any time with Nate, or what timeframe is appropriate for shacking up after divorce, but I know what Don has done isn’t the best thing for Nathan. It can’t be because Nathan wasn’t even considered in the decision. That’s very distressing! But…

I’ve learned some things about shacking up after divorce:

  1. I can see now how much I value independence and will quickly lose respect for a man who can’t even stand to be alone with himself for ANY length of time.
  2. Knowing this about myself now, I have more insight into why it didn’t work with Don and why he is not for me, and hopefully a better idea of the type of person who would be. 
  3. I’m also feeling really good about my decision to spend time getting to know what someone is really about, even if just for the sake of learning about another person, whether it goes anywhere or not. It’s fun. It should be fun.  Whatever length of time any relationship lasts (and you can NEVER know ahead of time anyway), I just want it to be great and both people ought to discover something.  
  4. Someone who deliberates a bit and then takes wise decisive action is a good man to associate with. No willy-nilly terrible decision-makers for me, thank you!
  5. And since everyone is always on their best behavior for as long as possible, you should wait until you see what kind of dark side a person has before you let your kid establish a relationship! 

I had to get that off my chest. Couldn’t sleep. Hopefully, now I will.

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