I am 51 years old and dating for the first time since I was 19 years old. I was married for 30 years. The man I am dating is the same age and has 2 ex-wives with children from both marriages. Wife # 2 he has 2 children with that are adorable and love me very much, in 5th and 6th grade. When he picks them up/drops them off for weekly visitations the ex-wife is normally dressed inappropriately to an extreme, probably to deliberately invoke him. Is it reasonable for me to expect him to make appropriate changes or decisions that would show respect towards his new relationship with me? We will be married in the future. I know what I need, he seems to not think it’s a problem. What should a good Catholic man do?
Whether or not he thinks it is a problem, be very sure that it is not his problem. He doesn’t get to tell her how to dress any more–if he was ever given that privelege, which is not something I’d bank on. If he thought there was any chance whatsoever that she would care to dress to suit you, be very sure he would have mentioned as much to her already.
Accept that she, like every other woman your husband sees on a regular basis, is going to dress as she pleases.
Thank you. I don’t really care about what she does, but rather what he does in handling it and how he handles it. If he chooses to go inside and have long conversations with her and give her a hug when he see’s her this way, that is not appropriate. I would think when modesty is not what it should be, a person could implement boundaries that is best for the new relationship. Not going inside, visiting, letting her know to put some clothes on. What do you think?
Keep in mind: He’s not married to her any more, but she is the mother of his children and he still has to parent with her. That is a very delicate diplomatic situation, because he’s going to need her on his side sometimes when she is on the fence and could easily defy him simply in order to be difficult. It is reasonable that he will want to have in-person conversations with her about the children but out of the earshot of the children. He needs to pick his battles. If you (and he) are wise, her clothing won’t be one of them. He may have learned this with wife #1.
You can’t marry a divorced person without marrying the issues that surround the exs, too. You ought not try to control them, but you can count the cost of accepting this, and decide to keep looking. That* is* in your control. You can also say, “You know, I’m not entirely sure you and she are emotionally free of each other, no matter what your court papers say. Maybe we should try this again later.” You can have conversations about issues that make you uncomfortable. Just don’t try to overtly force him to do anything or make any ultimatuums. See how acts, and decide accordingly whether he’s the guy for you.
Imagine you have a daughter with this man - perhaps 18 years old. Imagine that despite your best endeavours, she dresses inappropriately as this woman does.
Do you really think the loving, appropriate and Christian thing for you or husband to do would be to avoid long conversations with this hypothetical daughter? Avoid giving her hugs? Fer crying out loud she is your daughter, and will always be part of your lives as such.
And this woman may be an ex wife but as part of his past and present she will always be part of his life. It may be difficult for you, but she can never be a stranger to him and he cannot and probably should not cut her off cold as he would a stranger.
You can divorce your wife, but an ex is forever…especially an ex with whom you had children.
I wonder if it’s a lot to expect that a man who has two extinct marriages would feel able to exercise control over his ex-wives choices?
It’s possible this is her usual form of dress. It’s not up to your boyfriend to dictate to her; and many women would not take kindly to being told they should dress differently by a former husband. She wouldn’t necessarily change her dress style, and your boyfriend would be in the awkward position of giving the impression of being affected by her preferred fashion. Alternately, I doubt it would make you comfortable for her to know that you feel insecure and jealous.
Your boyfriend has presumably been sufficiently immune to her charms at this time in his life to be divorce from her and dating again.
Sadly, challenges are not unusual for those who date people with one ex-wife with children, let alone two ex-wives with children, so hopefully you can find a way to deal with the natural emotions of insecurity that can exist when one’s partner has children to two other women and therefore remains tied to them …as the link is a permanent one because they are always your boyfriends’ children’s mother. It’s not an easy path, but may God bless you and guide you to His most loving will for your life.
I guess rather than wanting him to make a change, this is also a time to see who your boyfriend really is, what matters to him, what his boundaries are, how genuine his concern, but not to overlook red flags. That is the challenge of dating, whether we see we should or can change what puts up red flags, or we have to see it as characteristic and therefore need to rethink our involvement.
It is also possible that she dresses that way because she is jealous and wants to be a troublemaker. Whatever you do, OP, do not let on when you are around her that you notice she is not dressed for the convent. (“Remaining gracious is like coals on the heads of those trying to provoke you”, as they say.)
It’s not easy at all. Phone calls, txts, emails, and going to home of ex-wives everyday, alternately. She dresses and acts like a Shakira. Chest hanging out, bottom hanging out, stomache hanging out and then late at night in very indescreet pajamas. I would think that a man of faith would incorporate measures in dealing with, as I know that I would do if it were reversed. Who wants their spouse interacting in this way with their former spouse that they had relations with? Of course there are feelings to deal with. It’s too bad we are not in a society today with modesty and decency and the repercussions of many that have to deal with it. Thanks so much for everyone’s input. I guess you are all saying the same thing. I’m to take whatever comes, regardless of how baudy and inappropriate the behavior is and not feel anything about it.
I still believe that life is choices that we make, based on what is right and wrong out of our love for Christ and what he said is right. A good Catholic man would make appropriate changes and send a message to anything inappropriate out of respect for his new relationship. Personally, I would not go inside and deal with the shananagans, and if welcomed at the door with such indecency, would tell her to put some clothes on and act decent.
It’s not a matter of the children or the girl when she turns 18. We will not have children because of our age, but I am the one helping raising the children in the Church and teaching them morality. I work for a Catholic Church and am very committed to the life of Christ.
Perhaps it isn’t my place, but I hope that you and your boyfriend have obtained the necessary declarations of nullity so that you are free to date?
The daughter of course would be different feeling, he had intimate relations with his ex-wife. There is a big difference.
Maintaining a good relationship with the mother of his children is far more important than making a statement about his new girlfriend. If he hurts his relationship with her he may end up having his custody or visitation challenged in court, she may poison the children against him, etc. Part of dating a divorced man is understanding that they have to do what is best for their kids. You will, and should come in second to that.
He can’t change the way she dresses–and in fact, if he’s a good Catholic fellow, the development of this odd clothing vanity may have been part of the reason their marriage didn’t last–but I think “I think we’d better wait until you’ve completed the emotional separation” might be the right way to go with this guy. I wouldn’t date a divorced man who still sees one ex-wife three times a week, let alone a guy who sees two of them on alternating days. The court may have divided their property, but I would be very concerned that he isn’t divorced yet. If he’s not emotionally divorced from previous wives, or even recovered from being widowed, he’s a bad candidate for courtship. That’s not necessarily a judgement against him; these things can’t be rushed. If you look at your actual situation, instead of the one I’m imagining, you might discern that he’s not quite ready to take on a primary relationship other than the ones he already has going.
Has he had an annulment, by the way? If not, leave him alone until he gets one. After all, for all you know, one of those marriages was valid.
Yes and thank you for asking!
No one expect you not to feel anything about it, of course it is hurtful, and not easy to cope with.
Hopefully if annulment is needed, your friend’s ex-wives will be cooperate if this a needed path for your future together, so for this, and for sake of the four children, hopefully relationships can be graced and peaceful.
Prayer and best wishes for the true good of all persons concerned.
No it’s not the reason their marriage didn’t last, but rather but what type of fellow he used to be and he sought out this type of sexy lifestyle and woman as it was his preference.
This sounds bad, but I’ll put it out there.
Unsuccessful in two marriages, entangled with ex wives he sees every day.
Yes we both have had annulments and thanks for asking!
You are free to feel whatever you like, but unless you are 110% sure that
a) she is dressing this way specifically and consciously to sexually entice your boyfriend back into a relationship with her; and
b) the content of their emails and conversations is anything more than either friendly concern such as a man should have for a woman he has fathered a child with, or directly related to that child (and parenthood is a 24 hour a day 7 day a week job for both parents); and most importantly
c) that he is aware of, approving of and also reciprocating any these motives and feelings
then those feelings should be appropriately channelled towards her and her only. He is not her husband any longer, and has no authority over what she says or how she dresses, only how he responds to it. Assuming that he does not in any way invite or encourage the dress or any inappropriate behaviour (assuming there is anything inappropriate about the texts etc) then he is not at fault in any way.
Merely conversing with her does not by itself constitute endorsement, by the way.
Please, I am not saying there is no cause for concern. I am not privy to what they discuss or text about, so I can’t say for sure. But given that he is in no position of authority over this woman I wonder what exactly you think it is that he should be doing about the matter and why.