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From One Mom to Another: A Letter to My Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend

I am sitting at my kitchen table thinking of you, wondering if we will ever meet. I know a few things that my ex has told me about you — and you sound wonderful. He is smitten. Even though you have not met my children, and if I am being honest, I am hoping it doesn’t happen until the two of you have been together for much longer and have a serious commitment to each other, we already have a bond.

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I realize I’ve never laid eyes on you in person, nor have we ever spoken. And that this bond has nothing to do with the man I used to be married to; the same one you are dating now, maybe even falling in love with. It has more to do with being a woman and having to break then come back together again because of what we’ve been through. It has to do with being single moms and wanting the best for our children yet trying to find some balance, fun and excitement for ourselves. Because at the end of the day, we both know we need to take care of ourselves in order to be the best parents we can be.

We need to laugh, indulge, feel desired and valued. We need to feel independent, yet there is a part of us that wants to be taken care of on a certain level. That may involve some casual male companionship or a deep and meaningful relationship. Just because our marriages didn’t work out doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to feel sexual or put on a nice dress and go out to dinner.

You know that being a single mom has its trials and tribulations. Fighting our way through certain moments and doubting ourselves can be accentuated when there isn’t always a partner there to let us know we’ve made the right decision. I realize the time away from your children is precious, and when you choose to spend that with someone, it shows how special they are to you. I am glad you have found that in my ex. I know you understand the weight of divorce and co-parenting and the natural anxiety and uncertainty that comes with introducing your children to a brand new person that one day may become a big part of their lives.

I have no idea what the future holds. But the one thing I do know, the one thing I just need to tell you, is that I hope — whether it is you or not — I have a relationship with the woman my ex-husband falls in love with. I am uncertain about a lot of things, but I am certain he will not be alone and I know he will not choose someone who isn’t kind and generous. If it works out between you guys, it is you who will be there when my son gets married or when my daughter graduates from high school or my youngest has his first speaking role in the school play.

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I want to know you. I want to know whomever my ex falls in love with because my kids will probably fall in love with that person too. They will want her there for their important events, and they will seek her approval, I am sure, whether they act like it or not. I have to prepare myself for this, because this is the reality when you aren’t married to the father of your children any more. I will be ready to sit next to another woman and share special family moments with her. I will be ready to meet for lunch if she wants and chat about Christmas gifts. I will be ready to put my ego and pride aside and accept that another woman will be a big part of my children’s lives.

So I just had to tell you, mother to mother, woman to woman: I understand we may be bonded for life. And if that’s the case, I’m hoping I will do a good job. It might not always be the easiest thing for me, but I will try because my kids will be watching me. And if they are happy to know you and have you in their lives, then I will be too.

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