Is it Possible? Getting Along with Your Partner’s Ex-Partner
Blending a family can be hard enough without worrying about your partner’s ex-partner, yet learning how to interact respectfully and kindly — even if it isn’t reciprocated — can make life better for you, your partner, and your children. Navigating this new relationship is different for everyone and will take time and patience, so don’t give up!
Here are tips to help you coexist peacefully with your partner’s ex-partner.
Focus on the future
Just as you want to put any past relationships behind you to focus on your current one, allow your spouse or partner to do the same. Don’t assume that their ex-partner is a threat to your relationship and try not to dwell on their past — it'll only lead to heartache and discontent. Focus on the future the two of you are making together. Accept what has happened, trust each other, and move forward together.
Be the example
Show your children how to be a gracious and respectful adult, especially if they aren’t receiving the same treatment from the ex-parent. This means keeping your relationship with the children’s biological parent friendly and polite. It means never speaking badly about the ex-partner, especially in front of their children. It means never forcing a child to choose between you and their biological parent or trying to outshine or replace the biological parent. Be honest and respectful — even if the ex-partner doesn’t appreciate it, your children will.
Your home is your safe space
Maintaining a relationship with your partner’s ex-partner doesn't mean they get to call the shots in your family. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that your home is not theirs — it’s yours. You and your partner can set and enforce rules, guidelines, and values. You're allowed to set and enforce boundaries for the good of your family. Respect this for their home as well.
Communication is key
Establishing lines of communication is key to getting along with your partner’s ex. This doesn't mean you have to become best friends! Rather, ensure that you can contact each other when you need to communicate about the children. Remember to be respectful and courteous in your communication — if you do so, you will often find that your efforts are reciprocated!
Work with your partner
Ensure that you and your partner also have strong communication skills so you can support each other and your children. If things start to feel overwhelming or discouraging, talk to your partner openly and honestly. Let them know that you’re struggling, and together, you can come up with solutions.
Understand the big picture
The most important thing for you to get along with your partner’s ex-partner is to recognise that this isn't about you. You’re doing this for the children because they are the most affected in this situation. Put aside any negative feelings you may have and do everything you can to make things easier for them.
Here at Adoption NSW, we understand that separation, remarriage, and adoption are significant life events that can be difficult to handle alone. That’s why we take every opportunity to provide assistance with our DIY adoption kits, professional legal advice, and informative adoption blog. Your adoption journey is a thing of beauty, so don’t let the challenges of the process get you down!