Thursday, September 6, 2012

Me, the Ex, or the Kids?

How would you suggest eliminating or at least minimizing the effect that an ex-spouse has on the current relationship? I currently feel like I’m taking a back seat or am secondary to the original spouse. Will I ever be the priority?

This may sound strange, but I suggest establishing a relationship (casual) with your spouse’s ex. This may take place over time with several invitations to get together and graciously allow them to decline. It’s important for the other biological parent to hear from you that you are not in competition with them or intend to replace them in the kids’ lives.

As long as there are kids involved, the new spouse may be “secondary.” The kids were there first; pre-existing relationships. Our new spouse is the “new person” in this family and basically unknown to our children. It’s important for the kids to believe they are still important to you; not replaced by your new spouse and left behind.

Couples “in love” have a difficult time seeing past themselves and understanding how the kids are seeing the new marriage (even if they say they are for it). Take the time to hear your children out and give them a safe place to share what’s going on in their world.

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About Me

Carri is a documentary film producer and communication skills trainer. She and her husband speak nationally on relationships, communication and stepfamily development.