So I don’t want to run to my mom or my bestie…but this just popped up in conversation with the kiddos since they’ve been back with me this week after a week with their dad…
“Dad had pictures of some woman on his phone looking all sexy…who knows how old she was with all that makeup on, but she looked in her early thirties…dad says they just went out to dinner to ‘get to know each other better’, but I don’t know why she sent him sexy pics of her on the beach an stuff if they just went to dinner…”
How to address this with them??? How do I reconcile for them that a month ago he was so ‘heartbroken’ over his love for the paramour and he is now saving sexy pictures of ‘datees’ on his phone. (He has an iPhone, so the only way to get the pics from text message to camera roll is to save it). What is that telling them internally about love and relationships?
I tried to help them understand why they found it to be it ‘uncomfortable’ by helping them through thinking of what questions it brought up for them…
They didn’t like that this woman, who their dad generally expressed that he just met, would be sending provocative pictures of herself to him…because I’ve taught them about respecting yourself and what is important in building a relationship-what traits you should be looking for in a respectable partner and what traits may make you look less than respectable.
Plus, what happens when your ‘date’ decides they don’t like you anymore, and now they have this provocative picture…hello Instagram sharing with all their friends and acquaintances with a snarky little jibe at your expense!! (That would be a typical behavior of teenaged antics)
I’m sure it’s difficult for them to reconcile ‘heartbreak’ over love lost when he can go out of a marriage, shack up with a long term girlfriend for a bit, break up that relationship and jump into dating within a few short months. As an adult looking on, I could see their ‘what does this mean about relationships’ questioning going on subconsciously…because I have the same WTF response…
What IS he doing? He hasn’t taken one moment to address his own issues and live on his own. Get on his feet in a healthy way before looking for the next ‘relationship’. But then again, I’m not surprised. Just saddened more. And more angry at myself that I didn’t see it about him 20 years ago and act accordingly THEN. 😦
Oooh! I feel for you. I do not know what I would do. It is so hard to teach children of divorce about values when confronted with that type of situation. You don’t want to be seen devaluing their father, and yet how do you explain the behavior in any other way? And if you don’t talk about it, will they see you as someone who never addresses issues?
I think that if you always act by your own moral standards, they will follow by your example. When they get a bit older, they will make up their own minds about their father’s behaviour.
I try to generalize about what they should look for in relationships – both friend and romantic; and the image and character they want to portray to the world – how they want to be perceived by others. I don’t use him as an example, I let his behavior speak for itself, and they generally don’t ask specifically about his behavior. I just used the situation to reinforce how sending ‘selfies’ conveys messages…and that once they’re sent, you no longer have control over what is done with the picture or how it is used.
Ain’t life grand when we get such a plethora of opportunities to teach our children about how to act in this world from the poor behavior of those who should be better examples for them…sigh.