DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Noah," and I are being divorced. He moved out nine months ago. We have a 7-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter.
Last month, Noah revealed that he has had a girlfriend, "Dana," since last June, and they're moving into an apartment together this week. He said the children won't have to meet Dana until I'm comfortable with it. Noah also promised it would be "gradual."
I took the kids to see his apartment a couple of days later. The next day he called me and announced he was taking them to a birthday party for one of Dana's relatives. He also said some co-workers would be there. (He and Dana work for the same company.)
We're not even divorced yet! I don't want to teach my kids that people live together before marriage. By moving in with Dana, Noah has created a secret I can't tell my kids.
Abby, I had to meet many of my father's girlfriends. They all fell by the wayside, each time creating more loss in my life. I don't want that to happen to my children. I'm thinking of making a rule: One year of committed relationship before either Noah or I introduce them to a potential partner. Personally, I'm waiting until after the divorce is final before I start to date. Am I right? -- PROTECTIVE MOM IN MISSOURI
DEAR PROTECTIVE MOM: Create all the rules you wish, but that doesn't mean Noah will abide by them. If he took the children to a birthday party for a relative of Dana's, it's logical to assume that they have already met her.
While you might like your children to keep their innocence, it may be impossible under the circumstances. (If the children visit at Daddy's, is he supposed to throw a blanket over his roommate?)
Honesty is the best policy -- in measured doses. Realistically, he should tell the children that Dana is his new "friend," and if things develop from there, so be it. How you conduct your own life is your business, and I admire your character and maturity in waiting to begin dating until after the divorce is final.