Sadly, sometimes relationships and marriages fail. What once brought two people together becomes a distant memory and they have to go their separate ways. Better to part ways and try and find some level of friendliness as a result.
Of course, there are scenarios where this isn’t possible; when a separation hasn’t been amicable, when you’ve gone through contesting a divorce and have reached a point where you can hardly stand to be in the same room together. Finding a way forward after such a hard time can feel impossible in the moment, but over time, wounds will begin to heal. You might never be friends but – particularly if kids are involved – you can reach a point where you don’t have to be enemies.
Then you meet someone new… and it all threatens to dissolve.
The Ghost Of The Ex
Let’s face it, few of us like the idea that the new person we’re planning a future with previously might have planned their future with someone else. While we know it’s unreasonable, we can’t help the occasional pangs of jealousy, the moments of their life, all of those “firsts” that we missed out on.
So, of course, it’s inevitable that they feel the same about your ex.
When you move in with another person, potentially even marry them, then the ex factor is one you’re going to have to deal with. When your new partner becomes a parent-of-sorts to your children, then problems with your ex are waiting at every turn. Every parental decision has the potential to cause arguments and complications, even if your relationship is generally sound.
This is complicated further by how, if you’re fighting fire with your ex, you might not leave enough time to consider your new partner’s feelings. Trying to balance these two very different needs is complicated to say the least, but thankfully, there are a few things you can do to remain on as even a footing as possible at all times.
1) Make Decisions As A Group
If there is a big parenting decision in the offing, then it only makes sense for everyone to have their say. If relations are cordial enough, you can do this as a group – but you have to acknowledge the opinion of the children’s father is more important than the opinions of your new partner.
2) Don’t Expect Friendship (And Be Cautious If They’re Too Close)
Throwing your ex and your current boyfriend together and hoping they will get on is a recipe for disaster. It might be that literally the only thing that unites them is you, so why would you expect them to get along?
Sometimes it’s even better if they don’t become friends at all, never extend beyond the occasional handshake and nod of head. There is such a thing as being too close for comfort. So while they shouldn’t be at each other’s throats, they shouldn’t be best friends either.
3) Avoid Flare Points
To put the problem in the form of a mathematical problem, you need to avoid any event or occasion that is going to involve a combination of these things:
You + your ex + your current partner + alcohol and/or emotions running high.
Any situations that meets the above criteria are ripe to become a flare point, and you’d be best advised to avoid them.
It’s never easy finding a space in your life for your ex and your new partner, but with time – and the above notes – it will become easier and calmer in time.