Engaged? Should you tell your Ex?

exOne of the questions that is frequently raised is ‘Should I tell my former spouse that I have gotten engaged?’. The answer is definitely yes, especially if you have children together. How you tell them will largely depend on how well (or poorly) you get on.

It is best to contact them 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.  Integrating a new spouse (step parent) into your family is like the game Snakes and Ladders (also known as Chutes and Ladders) it takes a long time to make headway and only a well placed word or comment and you slip 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 optimal to meet either over a meal or coffee, so you can outline your future plans, discuss any impact on them, especially if there are financial arrangements or you plan to move.  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!

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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