Dealing with Exs New Love and Your Children

Nothing seems to generate jealousy after a divorce than when one parent has a new love interest. In most cases, it has nothing to do with the fact that their ex has a new partner. What bothers people is that this new love interest will be around their children. Very few people can accept someone else stepping into that role, even if only for a little while. I know I struggled with this for over a year. After my ex got remarried and my little girl came home and started talking about her “daddy”, and she was not talking about me it almost made me sick. I had to learn to deal with this on my own because it was my issue, not my daughters and it should remain as such.

At some point, this is something we all are going to have to deal with to some extent, whether we like it or not. Some individuals date seriously for a while and then move on to someone else. Others will find someone that they eventually marry so your children will have a stepparent in their lives. Chances are you will learn about these other people from your children. In my opinion, we should not introduce our children to every person we date. I think it should be only those that we feel may have long-term potential.

You certainly can’t stop your ex-spouse from being with someone else. There is no law against it so even if you don’t like it you will have to make the best of it. Since your concern will be for your children, you need to make sure they are well taken care of. If you feel your ex-spouse is a good parent, then you shouldn’t have too much fear. It is doubtful that they will be with another adult who isn’t going to treat the children well. I can’t express this enough! No matter our feelings, if they are kind to your children that is all that matters.

The hatred and animosity that often grows between an original parent and someone that the other parent dates or marries are usually unbelievable. You can be sure the children will quickly pick up on it. They may feel guilty telling you that they like that other person. They may not want to be around them as they think it is disloyal to their parent. This is not how we want our children to feel, and it is essential to discuss the issue openly with the children. It may be hard for them to understand – heck sometimes we have a hard time understanding. Also, we must not forget that children struggle with the concept of divorce and often blame themselves. I know after several years my daughter still tries to come up with solutions for mommy and daddy to be together, even though her mom is remarried. As she gets older, when they see their parents with other people the reality that it isn’t going to happen settles in and can be addressed.

It is important to express to your children that they need to have respect for those individuals that their parents are dating or eventually marry. They need to know those individuals don’t replace their parents though. The lines may be blurred here as far as rules, and things so make sure you clarify what the situation is going to be.

You do need to be prepared for the fact that the new love interest will likely be accompanying your ex-spouse to events for your child. If you can take the time to say hello and be warm on some level, it is going to help. Likewise, you need to avoid telling your new love interest about issues you have had with your ex-spouse. You don’t want them to have a negative perception of that person based on what you have shared.

It can sting when you see your ex-spouse with a new love interest. This is more likely to be true if you are still in love with them on some level or have unresolved issues. You have to do your best to let go. You don’t have to become best friends with their new love, but it is to your advantage to get to know them on some level. After all, they will be spending time with your children.

One Reply to “Dealing with Exs New Love and Your Children”

  1. Just imagine what it’s like when your children’s father has a long term affair with another woman, but refuses to leave the marriage until the affair is discovered. Our kids are devastated that their dad would do this to us. They have lost all respect for him and blame him for the upcoming divorce. As a strong Christian family, we were floored by this. My soon to be ex husband is now openly dating this woman (who was married when the affair started) I wish I could shield my kids from this, but I can’t. He is their father, and what they see is that he chose her over us. They also see a man who for the entire time he was having this affair, was a pillar of our church…he was even the Christian School Board President…so how he could turn his back on God and the church is something they struggle with as well.
    He was not willing to leave our marriage until this affair was discovered and exposed. Abandoning your children for what seems like a chance at happiness is about as selfish as one can get. I have to bury my pain and not let the kids be influenced by my betrayal…but it is oh so very hard to do. We pray constantly, as do so many of our friends and family. We aren’t asking for anything specific, just that God’s will is done in our lives, and that we are given the strength and courage to move on.

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