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Divorce:
“Should a son date his father's girlfriend's daughter?”

Dear Annie,

One of my co-workers is divorced. Her ex-husband is now dating a friend who attends their church. My friend's son is now wanting to date the friend's daughter.

My co-worker would like some advice on how to handle this situation. Could you please send me information that I can pass on to her?

Thank you,

Concerned

Dear Concerned,

Thanks for writing. You are a good friend to care about what's going on with your co-worker.

It's a complicated situation as divorce rarely happens in a friendly environment. Even amongst the most "enlightened" couples, there is bound to be residual hurt and resentment. My guess is that your co-worker's son is already feeling caught in the middle between his mom and dad. I would also imagine that if your co-worker is not currently dating someone, she may be feeling jealous of her ex-husband's new partner. (Even if she is dating someone, depending on the circumstances of the break-up, she may still be feeling unkindly toward her ex's new partner.) All that said, for the son to date his dad's girlfriend's daughter is really asking for trouble! However, she may not have a lot of control over the matter, especially if the boy spends time with his dad and Dad has no problem with the arrangement.

My suggestion is that she get very clear about her feelings and have an open and honest conversation with her son. If she lets him know how she feels and gives him an opportunity to reassure her that he still loves her, then she may be more accepting of the whole thing. If she tries to manipulate him with guilt, he might obey her wishes not to date the girl, but he will resent the mom for the way she handled it.

I hope this helps and regardless of how this particular issue is resolved, I hope that both parents are clear in their commitment to working together and doing what is best for their child.

In friendship,

Annie

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