My ex and I broke up 3 months ago. Their family, who I’ve have a good relationship with overall, has invited me to spend the Memorial Day weekend with them at the beach. It’s been an annual family event and my kids will be there. The ex and I are on reasonably good terms. The family has always been kind to me and have shown nothing but love towards the kids and respect for me. I want to say yes because it’s always been a fun time for everyone. I need some advice because I am concerned it will confuse my kids.
– Don’t Want to Confuse the Kids
Dear Don’t Want to Confuse the Kids,
I love that you, your ex and their family are on such good terms. This sounds like a loving, supportive environment for your kids.
If I’m interpreting your questions correctly, you are afraid that your kids will think or hope that spending the weekend with your ex and their family may lead to a reconciliation. That is a reasonable concern. Three months isn’t a very long time for them to normalize the split. Without the right precautions, it is likely that this may give them hope. If you and your ex can set the right tone, in words and in actions, this may be a perfect opportunity to let them see you together as friends.
I suggest a conversation with your ex in which you establish clear communication and expectations for the weekend. Together you will need to have boundaries around how you relate to one another. You may want to limit any physical affection, sleep in separate rooms, but continue to be kind and courteous to one another.
Explain to your kids in advance, that you and your ex will always be friends and will continue to love them. This weekend is family time, and will not change the decision to separate. Keep your focus on the kids. This will only work if you are both sure that this isn’t an attempt by anyone (you, your ex, their family) to get you two back together. If you think on any level this is true, you may need to rethink your decision. It could lead to confusing everyone and most importantly the kids.
Good luck. I know you will make the decision that is best for your children.