Direct Answers – Push Comes To Shove

Fifteen months ago I wrote for advice on confronting my dad who was having continuous affairs on my stepmom for as long as I can remember. I believed it was affecting the well-being of my children, their grandchildren.

As you recommended I went straight to the bottom of things and told my stepmother what was going on. Since then my stepmother and dad "filed" for divorce a year ago but neither is willing to move forward.

My dad still has his girlfriends, and now that he feels he is "single," he assumes it is okay to have them involved in our family and around my children, while still sleeping at his wife's house. It seems to have gotten worse and way more inappropriate than ever.

I have no idea how to explain this craziness to my children. Am I supposed to let any and every girl he chooses for the day around my kids? Help please.

~ Jillian

Jillian, you have to protect your kids from lots of things: things on the internet, cars on the street, bad companions, harmful movies. It's a pain but that is the way it is.

Your father is a chronic womanizer. With some women he brings around, he is using you and your children as props. "See, I'm a good guy. Come meet my daughter and my grandchildren." Perhaps the women are thinking, "I need to be meeting his kids and his grandkids before we go any further in this relationship."

The other women he brings around are just today's girlfriend.

The reality is your stepmother is a doormat and your father is a satyr. Their divorce is as much of a sham as fidelity is in their marriage.

Why are you upset? Because you know firsthand the damage his adultery did to you as a child. You can't allow your children to be hurt in the same way.

Perhaps he can only be in your children's lives on solo supervised visits. Perhaps he can't be in their lives at all.

Some people might say, "But he's your father. You can't cut him off." But you are your children's mother. That supersedes everything. He is the one with the questionable behavior. People who tell you that you can't do this have morals with loopholes. Morals with holes are not morals.

Your family has a code. You have values you are raising your children with. You did what you are supposed to do. You talked to your father. What was his response? His behavior got worse. He didn't respect what you said. He is just one more thing you have to protect your kids from.

Lay down the law. You did it once, now he is forcing you to do it again. Tell him, none of the women you are cheating with can be around my kids. Don't follow the rules, and you don't see the kids.

Or cut him off completely. Do whatever works for your family. Your unflinching attitude must be, "We do not accept this in our family."

As your kids get older, you will explain things to them. For now, your father is perfectly free to do whatever he wants. But he is not perfectly free to do whatever he wants with your family, with your kids or with you.

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~ Wayne & Tamara

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