Letter: Parental Alienation Extended to My Long Time Girlfriend

Letters From Readers

Dear Susan,

You probably don’t hear from a lot of dads so here goes.

I have a 12 year old daughter with whom I share custody with my ex-wife.  Two years ago, I met a wonderful woman and we have been an item ever since.  We met three years after my divorce so it’s not like she was a home wrecker.

My daughter loved my girlfriend up until about six months ago.  Her mother has been saying terrible things about my girlfriend to get my daughter to turn on her.  It looks like its working. I want to marry my girlfriend soon but am worried about how may daughter is going to respond.

Can you give me some ideas on how to address this?

Adam

Hi Adam,

I applaud you for waiting a good while after your divorce before entering a serious relationship.  I also think you made a good choice in moving the relationship at a healthy pace.

Introducing new partners and possible step-siblings into any family is likely to have a few bumps along the way.

Your daughter is right at the beginning of her puberty years so she is going to be miserable and confrontational about a lot of things, not just your girlfriend soon-to-be fiance.

You can’t stop your ex from saying awful things about your partner.   It’s almost par for the course.  She’s angry and possibly jealous that you have met someone and are happy.  Your ex also knows that once you marry your girlfriend you have a completely full life without your ex in it.  That’s her problem and she is making it your daughter’s.  How sad.

So what can you do?  You and your girlfriend need to let your daughter navigate the best way she knows how.  Have your girlfriend back off and allow your daughter to come to her.  Let your daughter know that you love her and she will always be your “best girl” and that you have a partner also.  You have enough love for both and when the three of you are together you can have a very nice life.  Do not put down her mother at all.  Add that you always will love her mom and wish the best for her.

Your ex’s comments will get old and your daughter will eventually just respond to her with “Whatever.”  (Trust me, I have an 19 year old daughter!!)

Susan