Engaged Now What? How will you tell your Ex?

Engaged now what
Announcing the news

Your’re engaged now what ? Well first of all Congratulations! However it isn’t quite the same being engaged when you’ve been married before.  There are a lot more people to think about and people to inform (sensitively) before you tell the world.

To start with, one of the questions that I get asked frequently  is ‘”Should I tell my former spouse that I have got engaged?”. 

The answer is definitely yes, especially if you have children together. However, how you tell them will largely depend on how well (or poorly) you get on.

It is best to contact them either just before, or as soon as you have told your children, so they are not surprised. You can bet your life the kids won’t be able to hold back from telling them, as soon as they know, so you should try to get in first.

You may also want to pre-empt the children if you believe the news may not be received graciously, and even teenagers seem to forget that Mums and Dads have feelings too!

Be aware that your ex-spouse’s attitude to your news and to your new partner will be played back to you and will have an impact on how well things progress from here.  Expect them to ask the question “So your engaged now what?

If there is lingering anger, pain, resentment or other emotions, this news is not going to sooth any of them, so be prepared and try not to go on either the attack or defence, as this serves not purpose.

If you want any form of cooperation leading up to the wedding, now is the time to take a conciliatory or at least cordial approach.  There are hundreds of stories where the ex-spouse has taken the children away for the weekend, or refused to let them participate, causing upsets for everyone, especially the children.

Of course there is also the fact that you new partner is officially here to stay.  So it is unlikely to be just your ex who asks the question “So your engaged now what?” You children will be asking it too.

Therefore this is the time to really ensure the are integrated (as a step parent) into your family.  The last thing you need is behind the scenes commentary from your ex making it even harder for both your new partner and the kids.

This of this period like the game Snakes and Ladders (aka Chutes and Ladders) it takes a long time to make headway and only a well placed word or comment and everything slips way back down!

Whilst many forum entries suggest that your getting married again is none of your ex’s business and you don’t owe them anything, overall it is better to tell them yourself rather for them to find out another way. The repercussions will be less or more short-lived as you are not providing them with another reason to mistrust you.

If you can be in the same room without a slanging match developing within five minutes, it is best to meet either over a meal or coffee.  This will let you outline your future plans and any impact they are likely to have on them, especially if there are financial arrangements or you plan to move.  Try to make the meeting friendly, but relatively business-like.

However, remember to be sensitive, especially if you are the one who did the leaving, avoid the big smiles and the gushing references to your new love, it won’t help and could potentially hinder.

If you can’t (or don’t want to meet them face to face), the next preference is a telephone call, followed by a letter and lastly Email.

No matter what bad blood is between you, they did mean something to you once and it is better for them to hear it from you rather than from mutual friends or worst read about it on Facebook, other social sites, or in the announcements.

In most situations it is best to address a difficult situation quickly before it festers and becomes even more difficult, so be brave – take the short sharp pain, rather than the thousand cuts, usually from the tongue!

Author and experienced relationship coach, Gillian Andale is the owner of Love2Last, a coaching and resource centre dedicated to couples who have found love again, want a new beginning and aim to strengthen and grow their relationship as well as need help in blended family situations.  Visit www.love2last.co to browse and see the wealth of information available.

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