Remarriage Preparation – How to Manage the Ex Factor
Ex-spouses are usually part of the bargain with a remarriage. It may not be your first choice, but it’s a reality.
An ex-spouse doesn’t always have to be a nightmare. Unfortunately, a lot of that is out of your control. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to dealing with your partner’s ex-spouse.
Trying to be the new “parent”
Nothing is going to set an ex-spouse off faster than you trying to encroach on their turf with their children. Your job will never be to replace that parent (no matter how lousy you think they are). Your job is to honor their relationship with their children and just be another positive adult in the kid’s lives.
If you push the “parent” role, you’ll lose on every front. The ex-spouse will despise you and may try to sabotage any relationship you try to have with the children. The children will be uncomfortable with you because you are forcing something on them they may not want. And your new spouse may be unhappy with the increased tension from everybody.
The best way to develop a good relationship with the kids is to back off and not see yourself in a parental role, but more of a friend. Let your fiance do the parenting. They are, after all, the parent!
Holding a grudge
Even if you will be stuck with the “ex from hell”, that doesn’t give you permission to push back and try to “get even.”
Most of the time ex-spouse’s attempts at battles with the new spouse are done out of vindictiveness and anger that their previous spouse has moved on. Their hope is to undermine that new relationship and hurt their previous spouse.
By you feeding in to that and letting them know that you are bothered, you will be giving them just what they want. More than likely you will not have the effect of upsetting them back, which is what you’re hoping fore.
While that ex-spouse may be a constant reminder to you of your spouse’s past, it is no reason to make up your mind to hate that person. If you start problems with your fiance’s ex just out of spite, you can pretty much plan that you will be making your fiance’s life difficult. It does no one any good.
If your fiance has children, you will be stuck with their ex for life. Your hatred of that person may make you feel better but will only add stress for your fiance and upcoming marriage.
Fighting a battle that isn’t yours
It’s hard when you see your partner feeling stressed out or hurt by their ex-spouse’s actions. Our natural inclination in a situation like that is to want to jump to their defense and fight for them. While this sounds like a good idea, all you’ll be doing is redirecting the ex’s anger toward you rather than your partner. In the long run, this will cause everyone more trouble.
While it may be painful, let your fianc?ight this battle. You can support him or her and be a sounding board for them in dealing with a difficult ex. But it is not appropriate for you to jump in and begin to wage your own war on their behalf.
While you may not always have an opportunity at having a civil relationship with your partner’s ex-spouse, there are things you can do make the situation worse. Your goal should be to keep things calm with this person, not for their benefit, but for your fianc?your new marriage, and your new family.
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