Q. My 3-year-old son sees his dad only three days/two nights a week. I recently found out that his girlfriend stays over on the nights my son is there. Is this appropriate?
A It sounds as if you are asking this question based on moral grounds. If that is true, much to the dismay of many readers who believe the best way to maintain a relationship is to marry, a 3-year-old doesn't understand if you are "married" or not -- only if you are loving, nurturing, sensitive, kind and, very important, consistent.
If you are asking if the girlfriend sleeping over is detrimental to your child based on something other than moral grounds, it is not detrimental if your ex and this woman are in a loving, committed relationship and are planning a future together.
It is not detrimental if they follow the 10 rules of good ex-etiquette -- the primary rule being "Put the child first" -- and demonstrate positive interaction with this child.
It is not detrimental if they consult you about rules and discipline so you can support each other in the best interest of your son.
It is detrimental if this is a "hit it and quit it" relationship. Kids need consistency and become attached to those their separated parents date. Introducing them to someone who is around now but may be gone tomorrow is not in a child's best interest.
It is detrimental if your ex and this woman are taking drugs or abusing alcohol, or if there is domestic violence in the home. If that is
You can control only your four walls. Barring the drugs, alcohol abuse or domestic violence, if you attempt to control your ex and his love life, communication will break down and it could become difficult to talk to your child when he is with his father. As much as dad's lifestyle may not be your choice, the main concern is if the child is loved and safe.
If this woman is sleeping over when your child is around, I would hope dad regards her as serious. If that is the case, it would be a signal for you as parents to sit down and talk.
Put boundaries in place that will allow you to respect each other's privacy as well as successfully co-parent. And meet the girlfriend. She's with your child three days a week.