Finding ways to get along with your spouse’s ex can be as challenging as it was to find your spouse in the first place. Disagreements about the children, long-held jealousy, or just plain dislike of each other can cause the bad feelings to flow. However, for the sake of your new family, these old resentments have to be released. Follow these ways to get along with your spouse’s ex, and you may be singing their praises instead of cursing their name in no time!
1. Keep the Proper Perspective
You may have grudges, she may have grudges, and they may be difficult to release. But if you’re going to get along with your spouse’s ex, you’re going to have to try. If your spouse is in contact with her because of the kids, this is an excellent reason to keep it civil. You two need never be friends, and perhaps your spouse would prefer if you weren’t. But in the end, keep it in perspective that she may be in your life for the rest of it. Wouldn't it be nice if it could be a positive thing? If you are going to get along with your spouse’s ex, keep it clean!
2. Bite It
You know more about her than the kids know. This is the way it sometimes should be when children are involved. Even though you have a mouthful to say, take the high road, and keep it between you and your spouse. No one needs to hear the gory divorce details. All too often when mud is slung, the teller ends up to be the one wearing it!
3. Focus on the Good
Almost everyone has some good quality. By focusing on the bad ones, you’re bringing that negativity into your world. Why would you want that?!? Don’t try to figure her out, change her, or be angry with her. Just see whatever positive may be in her, and avoid the rest. This is something that will take practice, but it’s worth it for everyone’s sake. No need to be her friend if you don’t want to be. Just remember the more good you put out in the world, the more good comes back to you.
4. Keep It Short
Short and sweet is sometimes the best route! There’s probably no need whatsoever for you and your spouse’s ex to have long conversations. Whether it’s to pick up the kids, sort through an income tax question, etc., just make it brief. The fewer words exchanged, the less possibility for having them misunderstood.
5. Be a Cheerleader, Not the Quarterback
Even though you are a key player in your spouse’s life, his former life is between him and the ex. As much as you want to step in and protect your sweetheart from the slings and arrows of his past, don’t. Just be the good in the present, and let him deal with the past. If he needs a sounding board or an ear to listen, then be there. But don’t accidentally stir the pot and make it worse.
6. Only Let the Kids Hear the Good
Oftentimes, children will take their own sense of self from the sense they have of who their parents are. Be careful speaking badly about a child’s parents, because in a child’s mind, that can equate to you speaking badly about them. Even if your spouse and his ex’s marriage was a disaster and the divorce even worse, don’t mention this to the kids. Not even if they bring it up! Perhaps just acknowledge that every experience has a learning curve. Both your spouse and his ex learned a lot and, if children resulted, received a lot from their relationship.
7. Be Fair
Emotions can get the better of you. It’s only human. But if you truly want to have a positive relationship with your spouse’s ex, be fair. You probably weren’t around when the relationship was ending, so keep your opinions about it to yourself. And don’t bother to be jealous. Remember their relationship ended, and your spouse decided to take another chance at love with you.
Whether you are newlyweds or long timers, you can start a new relationship with an ex whenever you choose. Even if she doesn’t want to, you own your new viewpoint of learning what’s important, what’s not, and how to move ahead with your life on a positive track. What advice do you have for getting along with your spouse’s ex?