Should I welcome his ex into our home?

Dear Sherry:

My boyfriend is in the process of finalizing his divorce, and he has moved from London to live with me here in the States. His soon-to-be-ex-wife recently called to ask him if she could stay with him when she came on vacation -- knowing that I live with him. Urged by his legal counsel, he agreed to that and to paying her airfare. I asked that he put her in a hotel, but his response was, "She's my wife, she has a right to stay in my apartment until the papers are finalized." He assured me it would be a week of them arguing and that it was necessary so he and I could continue our relationship. I don't see why he can't speak with her during the day or at dinner instead of spending the week with her.

To add a twist we just learned I am pregnant. I know he's afraid to have kids; we've been through that discussion, but I didn't expect him to be so bad about it. Up until now everything has been so great. How do I explain to him why I don't want his wife here and how much he has hurt me with his response to my pregnancy?

Dawnielle

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Dawnielle:

Hoo-boy. Or should I say hoo-baby. First things first: This is definitely a case where three will be a crowd. Under no circumstances should the almost-ex move in with you, your boyfriend and your baby.

Tell him that you understand -- sort of -- the reasons for his very unhealthy request. His leaving his wife has left him prey to a host of unresolved emotions: guilt, nostalgia, sadness, anger and so on. But letting the little woman spend her "vacation" at your apartment, with the two of you flaunting your togetherness in her face, will lead to misery, if not homicide. Tell him that if she moves in, you move out. Period. End of sentence. Possibly end of relationship.

Which might not be a bad idea for the time being. The news of the impending birth has badly rocked this already rocky-feeling man. Although he's not trying to hurt you, he's probably feeling overwhelmed and petrified that, whichever way he turns, he's hurting someone. Stress to him that while you understand his mixed emotions about your pregnancy, it's a fait accompli. You intend to have the baby -- with or without him.

I think some time apart will give both of you much-needed space. He needs to deal with the fury of his ex (I don't think he's contemplating going back to her) and clear his emotional decks for a new relationship. It might not be a bad idea for your boyfriend to seek therapy to help him over the hump. And you need to sort out your emotions and needs as well. Hopefully you have a good support system of friends and family to help you through this difficult transition period. Regardless, you certainly have your wonderful iVillage cybersisters available on the message boards 24 hours a day.

Keep the faith, try to have patience, and things will work out.

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