How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ryan LCSW Your Own Question

Ryan LCSW, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Master degree and Licensed Social Worker.
Type Your Parenting Question Here...
Ryan LCSW is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am separated and working through a Divorce, We have a Child

Customer Question

I am separated and working through a Divorce, We have a Child together (Boy 4)and joint custody. The reason ultimately was because my would lie, deceive, had no respect for me or the finances and cheated on me. This is the same pattern of behavior in her first marriage ( 1 daughter 12) and from I learned later that pattern was in the relationships in between. She now lives with her single sister in why I will call a commune/sorority type environment. there is no drugs or heavy drinking going on, but I will categorize them both as 40ish who behave like and wish they were 20ish. My question is. My son's mother is of poor character and morals. But she is kind of a sociopath/narcissist, so she thinks we should be 'painting a picture' so to speak as friends 'for the good' of the kid. I totally disagree. I am cordial and just basically interact as little as possible when I we exchange my son. I honestly think it is the worse thing to do is just 'fake it' and convey to my son that such character and behavior is ok. He will eventually find out..because he you probably know...Guidance Please for the sake of my son
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd like to help you out.

I'm terribly sorry to hear about what you're going through with your wife. I tend to agree with you, and painting a picture and not being honest about the relationship that you have with her can potentially do more harm than good over the long run. As you know, kids are very smart and perceptive, and the truth will eventually come out.

At the same time, it probably is important to try and be as cordial as possible with his mother, and attempt to set a good example for your son by always taking the high road when it comes to the interactions that you have with her. You definitely don't have to like her or agree with her lifestyle, however for the sake of your son it may be necessary to find a way to peacefully co-exist. It's also important not to put your son in a position where he feels like he has to choose sides or loyalties to one parent or another, so other than explaining on a very basic level that things didn't work out, you would want to avoid making any negative remarks about her.

In that way, I think it is important to be honest with your son but also try to set the best example that you can for him. At 4 years old, he's probably not old enough to really understand the full truth of why things didn't work out, but that doesn't mean that you can't be honest with him at a level that he can understand. Faking it may do more to confuse your son than to make the situation better, and if you can explain the situation to him in an age appropriate way, that would probably be best for everyone in the long run.

I definitely wish you the best with this whole situation and your son. If there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I just have one more question. My ex has been seeing a guy for at least a couple months that I know, based on history my son can probably expect his mom to have a new boyfriend every year or two..again, based on what I have learned to be her pattern of behavior. Any suggestions on how to handle that with my son?
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 3 years ago.
No problem. I want to make sure I help you out, so thanks for your follow-up.

That's definitely a tough situation for a young child to make sense out of. I think your initial instinct is on target with regards XXXXX XXXXX being the best policy. Once your son starts to see and experience this pattern that you're talking about, that would probably be the best time to explain that this type of thing happens, and that it is possible that it will happen again. That's a tough thing to go through as a kid because they can grow to be attached to people.

In the meantime if you want to explain her boyfriend to him, you can try to explain to him that "boyfriends don't always stay around forever." It's difficult because you want to avoid saying things that will negatively influence him from forming his own thoughts/opinions, but you also want to protect him as well and not allow him to have unrealistic expectations. Overall, I'd think the more simple and honest you can explain it to him, the better off he will be in the long run.
Ryan LCSW, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience: Master degree and Licensed Social Worker.
Ryan LCSW and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Rhyan...BTW... I am they guy that call you an A$$ on the LIVExxx site the other day... Apologies. I used to be 24x7 nice guy for the most part...this stuff has definitely put a suspicious and much shorter jump to conclusion fuse on me ..for now...but I guess that another

Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 3 years ago.
Lol, apology accepted, and I hope you forgive me for my abrasive response to you as well. I can definitely understand how something like this would cause you to have a short fuse and make you skeptical. Glad we could reconnect and I was able to help :) Hang in there and good luck with everything.


JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Previous | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX

Meet The Experts:

  • Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Family Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
< Last | Next >
  • Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Family Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • Jennifer's Avatar


    School Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
  • professional_Alison's Avatar


    Child Care

    Satisfied Customers:

    Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
  • Cher's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
  • Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L


    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
  • Dr. Shirley Schaye's Avatar

    Dr. Shirley Schaye


    Satisfied Customers:

    PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
  • Eveningstargazer's Avatar


    Family Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

Related Parenting Questions