Focusing Tip #687 – “I can’t get over my partner’s having kids with another woman.”

Focusing Tip #687 – “I can’t get over my partner’s having kids with another woman.”
January 15, 2020 Ann Weiser Cornell
I can't get over my partner's having kids with another woman.

Focusing Tip #687 – “I can’t get over my partner’s having kids with another woman.”

If you’re tormented by feelings about your partner’s past and other relationships, what can you do? Read on…

Michelle writes:

I try so hard to make peace with the fact that my boyfriend experienced having children with another woman before me.

I find myself comparing myself to his ex-partner, feeling threatened by his relationship with his kids, feeling (irrationally) angry at him that he had kids before I was in his life, worried that he has a stronger bond with his ex than with me just because they share children, and sad that if and when we have our own children, it won’t be his first time.

I love him and don’t want my feelings about his past to wreck the present, but can’t seem to ease the pain that these facts seem to cause me.

I wonder if using Focusing might help me to accept this pain and transmute it into something to help me grow and better love myself, my boyfriend and his children.

Dear Michelle:

I am so admiring of you for being aware of the issue of your feelings about your boyfriend’s past, and for being determined to work on this in yourself.

One of the great things about Inner Relationship Focusing is that it allows us to turn toward and work with our feelings without being taken over by them.

You’ve tried dealing with your reactions by telling yourself they are irrational… and obviously that hasn’t worked!

Feelings such as you describe are understandable… but they could lead to the very outcomes you are worried about. And such feelings can’t be changed by deciding to feel differently, can they?

Using Inner Relationship Focusing, you will come into your body awareness, feel the support beneath you, and then invite one of these emotions into your awareness… using the language that we call Presence Language.

Like this: “I am sensing something in me that feels threatened by my boyfriend’s relationship with his kids.”

Now pause to sense the “something that feels threatened” somewhere in your body… and be gentle to it.

Notice how different that is from telling it that it shouldn’t feel that way!

I’m guessing that this is probably a very young part of you. Its longing to feel special to someone might come from early in your life.

And what it needs is for YOU to be with it now… with kindness and compassion… not telling it that it is wrong… but putting a gentle hand there where you feel it in your body, and letting it know you really understand how much it is longing to feel special.

And then keep listening to how IT feels.

It’s this inner relationship that has the power to totally shift these painful feelings… and that lets YOU be the strong calm self that can love freely from a wide open perspective.


  1. Gisela Uhl 3 years ago

    Dear Ann, dear Michelle,
    my I add something here? Something general about these kinds of feelings?
    There is so much to say about how our society instills in us an idea of “the one and only” in our lives. It is considered “natural”, and ignores the fact that there are other ways of living and bringing up children, in societies which are now mostly threatened to become extinct,,,,,,,
    With warm greetings from Gisela

  2. Edwin 2 years ago

    I’m dealing with the same situation
    I’ve been with My wife for over a year and She can’t get over I have a kid with another woman. She also find herself comparing to my ex-partner, feeling threatened by my relationship with my kid, feeling angry at me that I had a kid before I was in her life, worried that I have a stronger bond with my ex than with her just because we share a children. I only see my kid once a week and every time that day gets closer I can notice her getting sad, upset, distant. And usually this end with arguments. It looks like she wants to try to be okay with That situation but the pain she feels is stronger
    I love her and I don’t want her to be sad
    What can I do?

    • Mickey 5 months ago

      I understand how your wife feels about that bond with your ex than with her just because we share a children. My partner has children with their ex. And he had a vasectomy before divorcing. Now he and I are together and will never be able to have children together. He and I will never have a legacy together. The only legacy that exists is from his previous failed marriage. His ex-wife throws it in my face all the time that she had all of the firsts with him and I will never have that. Never have it with him, or with anybody. I don’t know how to process this. i’ve always wanted to have kids of my own. However I love him.

  3. Author
    Ann 2 years ago

    Hi Edwin – Maybe you can share the blog post with her?


  4. Anonymous 1 year ago

    I’m currently experiencing the same thing but he is 20 years older than me and has multiple kids from multiple different women. He got me pregnant this year and 3 months later I had a miscarriage. I felt as if he didn’t care because he has other kids but it traumatized me and I’m still healing. I am currently pregnant by him again and am so nervous the same thing will happen. Also he gives his babymommas money for his kids but has acted SO broke through my last pregnancy and this one. I feel so ashamed to still be with him but he threatens when I try to leave. Any advice?

    • Author
      Ann 1 year ago

      You are with an abuser who doesn’t care about you. My advice is to get out of there. Safely. is a good place to get some help. My heart is with you.

  5. Chris 1 year ago

    I am also going through the same thing. I reconnected with the first guy I ever fell for from back in 94. It didn’t work back then because we were too young or more or less I was too young for him at the time. But even back then something sparked between us. He tried to keep in touch but I was too angry and heartbroken.
    3 years later we saw each other again, tried but he was going through somethings and wasn’tready to be in any relationship.
    Then low and behold again in 2003 we ran into each other again but I was dating someone and I guess he assumed I was happy and didn’t want to interfere.
    After that I never heard or saw him again but heard later on down the road that he had a family and I went on to get married to the guy I was with when I ran into him. I ended up divorced because my ex was a drug addict then on to one of the worst relationship of my life.
    Fast forward to last year I found out his only brother had passed away so I messaged him to send my condolences from there he told me what I always believed and wanted to hear. That he thought about me more than I knew. And from there we began talking everyday. I knew he had kids and I was okay with it at the time. Only because I think my last boyfriend had 5 kids with 3 different women. So I believed that I would be okay with his 3 kids from 1 partner. He is sweet, loving and honest and a responsible father and person. And we are so good together in every way, we practically think the same.
    But lately those feelings of anger, hurt and jealousy have been hindering. I feel angry because why couldn’t it have been us that had a family?? I feel angry at his ex because every pregnancy she lied and said she was on the pill then cheated on him anyway. I feel angry with him for not being more cautious back then, for not trying to contact me etc. etc..
    It’s been really hard to deal with. Sometimes I feel like life couldn’t get anymore unfair.
    He says he wants a baby with me but I’m in my early 40’s and it just doesn’t seem possible or realistic.
    And besides that I feel robbed of having that whole experience with him because he’s been through it 3x
    His oldest daughter lives with him and the other 2 visit him once or twice a week.
    He’s been wanting me to move in for a while now and I probably would have moved in with him already if his oldest didn’t live with him although I do spend a lot of time there. It’s very awkward for me and for her too I believe.
    I know I love him but it’s all been a lot for me to accept and deal with.
    And I know things take time.
    I don’t blame or hate his kids but what I believe is exactly what you explained about that feeling of wanting to feel special to someone when I was young. I don’t think I got the love and attention I needed or wanted back then so it is hard to share his love and attention with his kids.
    I’d just hate to walk away from something we both always wanted a second chance to be together. He always said he thought we’d be great together and we are. It’s just not exactly how I would have preferred or imagined it to be.

  6. Chris Santoro 12 months ago

    Did it ever get better?

  7. Ryenn 2 months ago

    I’m currently experiencing these feelings as well. When I first got with my fiancé I knew he had two kids with his ex before me, and I had excepted as best as I could I thought. But every time he talks to them or goes to see them she’s always there. I get jealous about and feel really bad that I do. Now it seems as if it’s gotten worse now that I’m pregnant. I feel as if I’m alone (and I know I’m not he’s absolutely amazing) I just can’t stand the thought of him having the same or more of a connection with another women.

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