An Open Letter To My Husband’s Girlfriend

Hey girl. Welcome to the club. I, first and foremost, want to thank you. Thank you for caring for my children. Thank you for going above and beyond. I know that they are not your responsibility. I know that you are not required to care for them, but you do. I see you and all the little things that you are doing. You’ve taken my oldest figure skating; you buy crickets for my son’s bearded dragon. You take the time to do my four-year old’s hair, cover her in glitter, and ooh and aah over all things unicorn. I see you picking up the grumpy baby and holding her close. I appreciate these things. I know it probably sounds odd coming from me, but I do appreciate them.

I also feel bad for you. I’m sorry that you have entered this strange relationship at such an odd time. We are still technically married, but we have been separated for a year. I do not want him back. I feel that I have to stress this point. I am much happier on my own. I don’t want to disparage him or complain about him to you, but I want to warn you.

You are so young. I know there are only four years between us, but I promise you that four years is a lifetime. In those four years, you likely will grow into a self-assured, confident woman. You learn your boundaries; what you are willing to accept and what you’re not willing to endure. I know I changed from 30 to 34. It’s a good change. It’s one I’m proud of. I fear for you because when I grew and changed, the man that I technically call husband did not change or grow with me.

Maybe these next four years will be different. Maybe he will learn. Maybe he will grow. Please do not hold your breath. Be prepared for him to remain stagnant. I worry that you’ll fall in love, not with him, but with the kids. You’ll be in the same situation I was. You’ll want to stay for them. That saddens me on such a deep level that I can’t fully explain my sorrow. While I appreciate any and all love that you have for my kids, I don’t want it to trap you. I don’t want you to wake up and realize that you’re alone. I do realize that maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he will change. Maybe he will be a full-fledged partner that you can count on. My doubts are so great in that area; I can’t offer false confidences.

I see you already taking care of things that he should. You are the one that messaged me and asked for the oldest’s favorite lunch foods. You are the one who messaged me wanting to plan birthday parties. I was the one you called when the four-year-old was having a fit and you needed to know how to calm her down. It’s odd how we both have been thrust into this relationship. We have been forced to quickly get on the same page.

That angers me. It makes me so mad at him. I didn’t expect to have to deal with you this soon. Deal with you makes it seem like you are a burden. That is not my intention. I don’t know if you’re the first and last or just the first of many. The idea of co-parenting with one of his girlfriends sets a precedent that I refuse to allow. It’s not you; it’s the role you’ve acquired. I do not want to have to rely on Amy, Karen, or Judy to send child support payments. I do not want Melissa to have them while he works just because that’s “what we did before.” I will not share all the wonderful joyous moments of my children’s life with whatever woman happens to share their dad’s bed.

When we separated, I told him he needed to take time to work on himself. That I was going to take time to work on myself. I was going to take time to better myself. I said we needed to be the best version that we could be. When he mentioned dating, I flatly told him that it was something that shouldn’t be on the table for years. We were exiting an eight-year marriage. We both had jumped into this marriage shortly after exiting long term relationships. We needed to learn from our mistakes. We need to take time and grapple with codependency issues, being an adult child of an alcoholic, and co-parenting before we introduce more people into the dynamic.

I knew he wasn’t going to wait to begin dating. I knew this when he told me he was thinking of waiting a few months, maybe a year before he would begin dating. It was then that I knew he had already chosen someone to date. He was setting the stage for his newest relationship. I’m sure he thought he was being very mature and very smart. He wasn’t. I saw through it. My suspicions were confirmed when you were introduced as a “roommate” in a one-bedroom apartment with a couch that a child could barely sleep on. I didn’t press the issue because, honestly, what was the point? I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, he is going to run with his plans regardless of the multiple red flags, warning sirens, and people waving their arms to get his attention. When he stumbles, and he will, I hope he doesn’t trip you on the way down.