Dr. Love,I’m writing you because I’m really in a quandary. I have recently met and fallen deeply in love with a married woman. She had put her profile on the web, we chatted, found we were compatible, shared MANY common life experiences. We met, clicked immediately, and have been practically inseparable ever since. We are, without a doubt, soulmates who have been searching all our lives for each other. We are already talking about spending the rest of our lives together. That’s the good news.A little background first, before I present my question. I am divorced, no children. She is unhappily married to someone she considers more a roommate or brother, than a husband. She wants to end her marriage of about 13 years. She has four kids: 5, 8,10 and 16 (the oldest from a previous marriage).After much thought, I feel I am ready and willing to love her children as my own, but I have no real world experience (except for growing up with 4 sibs).After talking this out in detail, neither one of us have any idea how to proceed with starting the rest of our lives together: breaking the news to her husband that she wants out of the marriage, and NOT ‘I’m leaving you for another man.’ but because of the failure of their relationship. (He had an affair eight years ago, shortly after their second child.)We’d like to know how to introduce me to her children with ther minimum amount of emotional damage. (I almost feel I know them, because we talk about them all the time, and I listen to them when I’m on the phone with her).Thanking you in advance for your time.Sincerely,C.
You are a very responsible person who clearly considers other peoples’ feelings. Your new love is lucky to have found you.Regarding your question– how you can be introduced to the kids and not damage them. I think the key here is maintaining proper boundaries. In other words, if your lover is still married, then it isn’t proper for her to introduce you as the man she will marry next.Can you see how this could confuse the children? Here they thought they had one family and one father, and now he is being replaced while their parents are still married! What will this teach them regarding marriage and commitment? Bringing you in as the replacement man before the existing relationship is finalized, will send out very unhealthy messages.So, what I’m saying is, it would be best for your lover to obtain closure with her current relationship before adding you to the picture.The kids also need to be permitted to discuss their feelings about the marital break-up. There will be feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, etc. Bringing you on the scene prematurely, could serve to abort their natural grieving process and cause their feelings to go underground, only to resurface as depression, anxiety, physical illness, etc.Also, if they meet you while mom is still married, they may come to hate you as the person who ruined the marriage, and, while you may be ready to accept them, they may never be able to accept you, if they meet you under such circumstances.So, my advice to you is to lay low. Let your lover finish her business with her husband and then when the relationship is dissolved and the husband and your lover make a physical break (they don’t live under the same roof), then you can come into the picture.More people should be as responsible and thoughtful as you are.Good luck with your new family.