Divorce rules: OK to vacation with the boyfriend and the kids?

I’m always wondering about the rules of divorce.

Although I’ve never been divorced I’m a big believer in kids not meeting a date/girlfriend/boyfriend until it is really serious. But what about taking the boyfriend/girlfriend on vacation with the parent and the kids after it is serious? Is that OK?

I recently heard that an old friend was bringing her boyfriend along on her vacation with her kids. I just wasn’t sure how that would fly with the ex-spouse or with the kids? Is that fair game? Can an ex put his or her foot down? Could the kids object?

33 comments Add your comment

Jesse's Girl

July 14th, 2009
7:34 am

This completely depends on the age of the kids and what values you are instilling in them. I would not do this….I want to raise my son to respect a woman and her value; I also want to show my daughters that while dating is perfectly ok and fun…acting as husband and wife is still just that…acting. Divorce sucks big fat hairy ones….I pray daily that Jesse and I are equipped enough to overcome anything.

Andrea

July 14th, 2009
7:40 am

It is a family decision that should be made with the wants of the entire family taken into consideration. That being said, the kids should absolutely be allowed to voice their agreement/disagreement with the idea of the boyfriend (or girlfriend if it is dad) joining them on the vacation.

I also think the ex-spouse should not have a say. The reason being, your ex-spouse should have already established some type of communication with the new boyfriend/girlfriend long before any vacation talks came onto the horizon. I know that is not always possible because some ex-spouses choose not to be involved. In my opinion, nowadays, the new boyfriend/girlfriend meets the kids waaaaaaaaay too soon.

JJ

July 14th, 2009
8:18 am

Interesting topic, but I will lurk today. Vacation is tomorrow and they may heap a ton of work on me today.

I’ll check in……..if not, see you all Tuesday.

Photius

July 14th, 2009
8:19 am

Let’s see…. in America today we have a 50% divorce rate with the maturity level of most adults around the age of 15 as everyone now wants instant gratification in work, love and life. “It’s all about ME, baby” proclaims the population. Therefore these people make bad choices about marriage and split up leaving their kids to enjoy step families in addition to all types of other emotional issues. Today’s divorced parent who is trying to fill the void of love in their own wack-o heart will certainly bring the boyfriend on vacation with the kids and introduce their new “buddy” to the kids on the first date, or perhaps even allow a nice little shack up during school nights. What’s so wrong with that – after all…. it’s all about ME today in America. Bravo parents…..

FCM

July 14th, 2009
8:34 am

The ‘otherside’ had the kids during the summer for a few weeks. Dad did visit with them and the new fiancee (Susie) came along too. Susie and Dad had different hotel rooms, the kids stayed with Dad. Dad left after a few days and Susie went with him.

Unfortunately Susie thought she was being sweet and came back to see the kids before they left to come home. She mentioned she had just seen their Dad. The kids figured it out Dad spent MORE days with Susie than with them (shocker!) and so they feel she is more important to him.

Life with divorce is nothing if not filled with twist and turns! The kids are in general fine. They came home to their ‘normal’ if boring routine.

JJ

July 14th, 2009
8:56 am

Photius, sometimes Daddy brings his girlfriend…it’s not always Momma bringing her boyfriend. Dad’s are just as guilty…..I know my ex went through several girlfriends.

Erica

July 14th, 2009
9:05 am

Okay….I’ll speak as a now wife in a blended family (husband has a daughter from first marriage).

I personally chose NOT to meet my then new boyfriend’s daughter until I was very sure that the relationship was one that was going to be long term. It was several months before I met her. I went with them some months later to visit his family (whom I’d already met by then). But, we always were appropriate and stayed in separate rooms. As a matter of fact, his daughter would typically share his room. When we went on our first big vacation, it was after our engagement and it ended up being both my family and his, as an opportunity for our families to meet. And on this trip, we NEVER shared a room!

I think both the parent and the boyfriend have to really take the kids’ feelings into account and put themselves in their shoes. And I agree with Andrea….I think the “date” is introduced far too soon to the kids. I don’t think kids need to have a revovling door of folks in and out of their lives. Divorces are painful enough already. But the boyfriend/girlfriend needs to ease into the kids’ lives, and only if both of you are SURE that the relationship is going to be around for a long, long time.

Just my two cents.

motherjanegoose

July 14th, 2009
9:19 am

I have no experience in this arena and thus no valid comment ( imagine it). I will say that I agree with Photius on this: it’s all about ME today in America. Bravo parents…..

Denise

July 14th, 2009
9:29 am

I’ve said before that my daddy allowed us to meet his girlfriends when we were young but when we figured out that he had 2 girlfriends at the same time, he put a halt to that until I was in college. Even then it was just meeting her; they went on vacations themselves. My brother and I were never invited. That’s probably because they were grown and were going to stay in the same room, even though at that time we probably wouldn’t have cared or thought they were doing anything wrong.

My mama introduced us to boyfriends probably too early (based on how I feel NOW not then). If they were spending the night but 1. they didn’t go to bed until way after my brother and I were asleep and 2. he was gone by the time we got up. Again, we knew but never SAW, if that makes sense.

As for vacations together, I think it depends on the age of the kids and the seriousness of the relationship. If a kid is in college then who cares? Elementary and junior high aged kids definitely should not be exposed to what grown folks do, which means they don’t need to go on vacation with the boyfriend/girlfriend until the relationship is serious AND the kids are okay with it. As a child of divorce, I wouldn’t have wanted anyone but me and my brother (or someone who could help Daddy out and do my hair, take me to the bath room, etc. and that was only family) just because I was territorial and wanted Daddy all for us with no distractions.

deidre_NC

July 14th, 2009
10:30 am

i think if the relationship has pregressed to the point that the ‘other’ person is part of the family life..then vacation is ok as long as its ok with all…and no sleeping together..when i was younger i may not have felt this way..but i do now…kids need stability and meeting the ‘other person’ too soon can destablize fast…i just think it is very hard to have a new person in your life when you are raising kids..which is why i havent done that…hope im not too old now that all are grown and done..but it takes so much time to raise a kid(s) and it takes so much time to form a relationship…if you have kids..are single and work…where is the time gonna come from to have a relationship? i never figured it out myself…which is why im still single..you cant take time from work..the time has to be taken from somewhere…some figure it out…i didnt…

catlady

July 14th, 2009
10:50 am

My kids were uncomfortable when my ex was initially dating and initially living with the woman who eventually became his wife. My son hotly said, “Dad and “barbie” aren’t living together, she just stays there all the time.” My daughter, who was about 9 at the time, didn’t like the way they carried on (lap sitting, etc). The youngest wanted me to let Dad and Barbie come live with us and I could work and take care of all of us and she could see her dad more. Sad.

diedre: I did the same thing. I just say I am not in any hurry (22 years now). I see too many parents of my students who literally rush from one “serious” relationship to another. It is very hard on the kids.

I wouldn’t do the joint vacations until the wedding, personally, if there were home-aged children.

Denise

July 14th, 2009
12:31 pm

Catlady I cannot imagine how I’d feel if my child (don’t have any yet) told me that his/her father was acting in a way that was seemingly inappropriate. Children are observant and have their own comfort level and should be considered. Did you address your kids’ father about his behavior and how it affected his kids?

Becky

July 14th, 2009
12:55 pm

JJ, have a great vacation..

Theresa, how is your brother doing? How is the rest of the family doing?

I have a new great niece that was born this morning..Just wanted to share that..

JJ

July 14th, 2009
1:19 pm

Hey Becky, thanks…….I can’t wait……4 more hours until I’m officially on vacation…….and CONGRATS on your new baby grand-niece……how fun..

My neighbors were babysitting their 15 month old granddaughter last night. I grabbed my camera and got some great pictures of her little chubby cheeks…….makes me want another one…….but I’ll have to wait my turn for grandbabies….hopefull NOT for another 10 years…….

And Theresa, update on your brother and family please!!!!

lakerat

July 14th, 2009
1:30 pm

JJ – you ain’t left yet? Have fun, and have a margarita on me!!!!

JJ

July 14th, 2009
1:35 pm

Lakerat – No, we are leaving tomorrow…….and I’ll have that margarita by this time tomorrow……can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes……..mmmmmmmmm…….

pd

July 14th, 2009
1:41 pm

My parents were divorced when I was young. They both always were dating someone. Sometimes they took them on vacations. I never liked it, but what can you do? The only thing that ever REALLY bothered me was when one would talk negatively about the other.

I tell this to parents who are divorcing now. NEVER, under any circumstances should you ever say anything negative about the parent of your child. i don’t care how much that other parent has wronged and hurt you. Its your child’s father/mother, not your husband/wife you are talking about.

JJ

July 14th, 2009
1:59 pm

PD I agree 100%. I have NEVER said anything derrogatory about my ex to my daughter. That’s what my friends are for……:)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 14th, 2009
2:15 pm

Hey JJ and Nurse and Mother –My brother has been in ICU for thre weeks — He was out for two night and didn’t do well with the less care — He has steroid induced diabetes and has had very low oxygen because they figured out he was aspirating on food and liquid — the epiglotis is not covering correctly since the 10 days on the ventilator — so lots and lots of issues other than his brand new heart!! the heart is beating fine — there was some rejection at the last biopsy which they treated wtih massive amounts of steroids, which made him hallucinate!! He is getting stronger and the hospital seems to be figuring out what is going on and getting coordinated. (They kept sending up food he couldn’t eat with the high blood sugar!) I’ve got babysitters coming frequently so I can help and be with him. He’s really achy likes to have his feet and arms rubbed, which I’m happy to do. Hopefully he’ll start to improve now that they have figured some things out.

JJ

July 14th, 2009
2:22 pm

Blog hugs Theresa……

TKH

July 14th, 2009
2:24 pm

I say no. There’s no reason for it. Either this relationship is going to end in which case the children and significant other don’t need to spend time together, or the relationship is going to lead to marriage in which case there will plenty of family vacations after the wedding. A boyfriend/girlfriend is NOT part of the family and does not need to be treated as such. I also think it’s wise for single parents to have long engagements when they do remarry. Wait to introduce the kids until you’re SURE you’re marrying this person and then give them plenty of time to adjust before the wedding. Parents can be so self-absorbed when it comes to their relationships and it’s so unhealthy for their children! Everything’s different when you’re a parent including – maybe especially – dating.

deidre_NC

July 14th, 2009
2:43 pm

jj have a couple of margaritas for me too…

theresa prayers still for your brother..

JJ

July 14th, 2009
3:18 pm

You got it Diedre…..dang with all these cocktails with y’alls names on ‘em, I should be feeling NO pain by Thursday afternoon…….

new stepmom

July 14th, 2009
3:54 pm

I have not posted in a while. Had major female surgery at the end of May and am just back up on my feet.

I have been in this situation and the answer to me is no vacations until you are married. It confuses the kid and sets a bad example. I do not think there should be any over night guests until there is a marriage, but that is just my two cents. Great topic on a very hard situation.

JJ

July 14th, 2009
4:11 pm

Deidre – I will.

Dang, with all these margaritas I’m having for ya’ll, I won’t be feeling any pain by Thursday…….

Becky

July 14th, 2009
4:18 pm

Theresa, sorry to hear about the setback, but it’s good to know that the hospital is figuring things out..

new stepmom, hope everything went well with your surgery..

I think there are a lot of deciding factors..The age of the children, how long after the divorce did the parent start dating and so on..I’ve never had much experience (sp) with this..

Becky

July 14th, 2009
4:28 pm

JJ, instead of a margarita for me, just have a Crown Royal and ginger ale…Yummy..

HB

July 14th, 2009
4:45 pm

Generally, I think it’s a bad idea, but if the couple is really serious (like engaged) and both have kids, it may not be a bad idea to have a joint vacation and give everyone a chance to have fun together. I would stick with separate bedrooms, though, treating it like a vacation you might have with a close friend’s family or with adult siblings and little cousins. I’d be more hesitant about vacationing with a childless boyfriend. It makes him seem more like Mommy’s friend who is there to intrude and replace Daddy, and I think the kids would be more focused on them as a couple. It’s a different dynamic that I think would be harder for the kids.

catlady

July 14th, 2009
7:14 pm

Denise, Yeah, I addressed it. He claimed there was nothing happening in front of the kids but he also toned it down.

I think parents do a great disservice (screw the kids up) if they don’t consider the children’s needs/sensibilities first. I see too much of that as a teacher; kids whose needs don’t seem to register. I am not saying don’t date, or whatever, but be discrete! Remember how important it is that your children see you model good behavior that you would want to see them manifesting at the age of 15.

nurse&mother

July 14th, 2009
8:53 pm

Thank you for the update, Theresa. I have been very concerned about him (I thought maybe it was the heart). Sounds like they have figured it out. Hopefully, he will start improving soon.

Much love to ya!

nurse&mother

July 14th, 2009
8:54 pm

Photius, I couldn’t agree with you more (8am post).

nurse&mother

July 14th, 2009
8:57 pm

Ok, I realize that there are exceptions, so I don’t mean to go off on all divorced or remarried parents. I do agree that MANY parents today do not think about what is best for their children.

IF I were to get divorced, I certainly would not consider getting into a relationship with someone else for a long time. Probably not until the children were out of the nest.

saline

May 24th, 2010
3:37 pm

I agree with the overtones of what some of you are saying.. but I also think people in America coddle their kids way too much. You’re an adult, you can date, you can be with whom you choose. Your kids are your kids and you shouldn’t live your life catering to their whims. Sometimes they have to grow up and face things they don’t want to face without always getting their way. I’m not saying be insensitive their needs, just don’t cater to their every wish, because I do think your experience makes you a better judge of what’s right than that of a 10 year old who mostly thinks only of his or her self. Anyway, this whole moral stuff about not sleeping together and such and such.. baloney. It’s all some religious crap someone made up and said was “wrong” and it sounds like a lot of you don’t think for yourself but rather what the Moral Police have to say. Who made them the judge of what’s right/wrong. I think I’ll teach my kids, including the steps that acceptance and coexistence is necessary to maintain respect.. and not to judge other’s actions, but to mind your own, and to make the best of what you have and do so in a non-threatening way. Amen to that.