How a woman can cope with an ex’s new partner

Avoid badmouthing your ex-husband's new partner to your children, or making them feel guilty for having fun with her. 

What you need to know:

  • Your ex’s new partner feels vulnerable because you and your ex have a past together.
  • Meanwhile, you’re angry and resentful that she’s becoming a part of your children’s lives.

Of all the “other women” in your life, such as your grandmothers, aunts and cousins, some can be surprisingly troublesome. Terrible mothers-in-law don’t only happen in myths and legends!

But the worst “other woman” of them all is definitely your former husband’s new girlfriend. Though, to be fair, she also thinks you’re her worst nightmare: her new partner’s ex!

You’ll cope better with each other if you accept that you’re really two sides of the same coin.
Your ex’s new partner feels vulnerable because you and your ex have a past together, which presumably started off happily. So, if she treats you badly, or complains when you and he talk, it’s probably more about her own insecurities than anything else.

Meanwhile, you’re angry and resentful that she’s becoming a part of your children’s lives. But don’t hate her just because of who she is. And instead of negative thoughts about her, try to focus on the needs of your children.

So, put a smile on your face when you meet her, even if you’re feeling miserable inside. And if at all possible, try to get to know her and to become business-like “friends”. That might sound impossible, but she can become a useful ally in bringing up your children and in easing any difficult interactions with your ex.

So, avoid badmouthing her to your children, or making them feel guilty for having fun with her. That will just make them start lying to you about their time with her.

Happy relationship

Instead, let them tell you all about what they do in her house, even if it’s hard to hear. And positively help your children to establish a good relationship with her. Stop worrying that she might replace you as their mother. Because she won’t. Your children do understand the difference between you.

What if your children don’t like her? Listen sympathetically, and help them understand that the situation is just as awkward for her as it is for them. And encourage your children to talk with your ex, so that he can address any issues.

Above all, do everything you can to make things better for your children. They’ll grow up all too soon anyway, so look forward to when you’ll enjoy a grownup relationship with them as independent adults. 

Keep their basic routine much as it always was, and don’t be either overly permissive or too strict. Children feel more secure with consistent rules and when they know that the adults are in charge.

And if you decide to start dating? Go for it! Your children will benefit from seeing you in a happy relationship. Try to choose someone who understands the complexities of your life, probably because they’re in the same situation.

It’s all very hard work, but worth it. Because with your support, your children will do just fine. And that, at the end of the day, is all that really matters. And will bring you great satisfaction.

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