Even though you know the relationship is over, you’re never quite sure how you’ll feel when your former spouse starts dating again. Then the day comes. You find out your ex has brought a new person into your children’s life and you’re taken back. You don’t know what to do, how to feel or what to say. When this day comes into your life, here are a few ideas on how to cope.
Accept the Situation
It can be hard to admit that when it comes to your children some things are out of your hands and there’s simply nothing you can do about them. But, that’s the situation you’re in now.
When my ex-husband first started dating I wasn’t immediately upset. I was happy that he’d done something to move on in his life. That was until he tried to hide who he was dating from me. His first new girlfriend was a former acquaintance who had a less-than-stellar reputation. She certainly wasn’t the kind of woman that I wanted my two kids around.
I vented to family and friends for the next few days before finally calming down. The same advice was repeated to me over and over in this process: “Who he dates is not your choice – deal with it.” And that’s what I had to do. When you get divorced you have no say in who your ex dates and unless your children are in danger there’s nothing you can do. The faster you accept the situation, the better off you’ll be.
Know That You Aren’t Being Replaced
The hardest part of your ex dating again is the fear that the new person is going to replace you as a parent. Maybe the new girlfriend will be more fun, smarter or more caring than you. That’s not going to happen. While the other person may be a lot of things, you’ll always be the parent. Your kids love you and they’re likely just as confused about the situation as you are. Talk to them, let them know that everything’s okay and decide to cope with this change together.
Staying on positive terms with your ex is not only good for you but is something your children need.
I’ve stayed friendly with my former husband since our divorce. We’ve had a few minor arguments but for the most part we’ve been able to work everything out.
When your ex finds a new love interest he’ll probably become less open with you – especially since your friendship could possibly result in jealousy issues with the new girlfriend. If this happens just remind your ex that you are only interested in what’s best for your children – and mean it. You can’t do anything about your ex’s personal life so keep your conversations strictly child related. Sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong will only breed feelings of resentment from your ex.
Talk to the New Significant Other
If the new relationship progresses, it’s likely you’ll need to meet the new love interest. Set up some time with your ex and the new partner and lay out some ground rules. Is there anything you don’t feel comfortable with the new significant other doing? Anything he or she needs to know about your children?
As hard as this can be, talking through your issues now will relieve stress from the situation and hopefully prevent future problems. Being mature enough to talk face-to-face also sets a good example for your children and can help them feel better about the new changes in their lives.