Second marriages can be wonderful. You’ve realized your mistakes, moved on, and made a more suitable choice for yourself. Unfortunately, second marriages often mean there is an ex lurking somewhere in the not-too-distant background. Whether you have children or just live in a small community, it’s quite likely that you will have to deal with your new spouse’s ex, and they with yours, as the case may be. It may sound like a daunting task now, but dealing with your spouse’s ex doesn’t have to be.
Be Nice: This sounds simple enough, but it can be hard to be pleasant with someone if they cause trouble for you or if you know they had been terrible to your partner. Your spouse’s ex is just like any other human being, or at least mostly. If you’re nice and respectful during your interactions, you’ll likely breed that sentiment in the former partner. If it doesn’t work, at least you and your spouse will know that you did what was right.
Know It’s Over: At some point, you may find yourself wondering if your spouse still has feelings for their previous mate. It may even seem like a reasonable fear. After all, they did like each other at some point. But these feelings of insecurity are only going to make it more difficult for everyone to get along, and they may hurt your current relationship. Remember that your spouse wouldn’t have married you if he or she was still hung up on an ex. Discuss your concerns with your partner so that you can work through them together. It’s possible your better half has the same worries!
Set Your Boundaries: While it’s very common to have a few arguments over how to raise the kids or when child support is paid, an ex should still respect your current life. Don’t let anyone walk all over you. If your spouse’s ex is trying to take advantage of your partner or telling lies to your stepchildren, you don’t have to put up with it. Try to say your piece without sounding hostile or starting a bitter fight.
Don’t Blame Your Spouse: When you marry someone, you marry everything that comes with them. This includes their job, their habits (both good and bad), their family, and even their ex. While you may resent their former spouse, don’t blame your partner for having to deal with them. It might not always be pleasant, but you knew about it going in. Don’t make your spouse suffer for past decisions.
Put the Kids First: If there are any children involved, remember that they are far more important than any thoughts of jealousy or insecurity that you may have. Don’t let your hard feelings for an ex get in the way of the children getting what they need, including lots of love from all parents.
There will probably be some bumps along the way, but with a little bit of effort you can get along with the ex. Keeping things friendly will be better for your marriage as well as your relationship with any children that are involved. Remember to play nice and make the kids the priority. Some couples are able to mesh so well with the ex that they actually have family functions together. It may seem far-fetched now, but it is possible with a little bit of effort to at least try to get along.