In many situations, it may be normal for a man to cut ties with his ex after a breakup. Dating someone with children, however, opens up several scenarios that may not be immediately apparent to someone without children. If the man you are dating has children, chances are that he has some form of a relationship with his ex. From comparing parenting styles, discussing homework and planning for major life events, it is almost impossible to keep his ex out of his life when children are involved. If you hope to maintain the relationship with your boyfriend, you must also learn how to cope with the relationship that he will forever share with his ex.
Introducing yourself to your boyfriend's ex can open the lines of communication by eliminating the mystery between you. Keeping an open line of communication between you and your boyfriend's ex is the most direct way of staying abreast of their relationship. While you do not have to become close friends with her, remaining in good favor with your boyfriend's ex may prevent feelings of jealousy or confusion from arising during times that your boyfriend has to be around his ex for the sake of his children.
Stay Out of Their Affairs
Even if your boyfriend and his ex are typically on good terms, there may be times when they disagree with each other or the decisions being made regarding their children. Avoid falling into heated discussions with your boyfriend's ex, or jumping in-between their arguments. While you may only desire to support your boyfriend, your chivalrous intent may be mistaken as a hostile attack and may make the situation worse.
Remember, She is Their Mother
Even if you don't always agree with, or even like your boyfriend's ex, her children may hold her near and dear to their hearts. Lashing out at the relationship between your boyfriend and the mother of his children may drive a wedge between the two of you and his children. Show your boyfriend's ex respect by not blatantly going against her wishes regarding the care and supervision of her children.
If you feel that the relationship that your boyfriend shares with his ex is inappropriate, feel free to voice your concerns over their relationship. While calling to discuss the well-being of their children is a normal and acceptable behavior, it may not be acceptable in your relationship for your boyfriend to call his ex to talk about his day or confide information about your own relationship to her. Tell your boyfriend what aspects of his relationship with his ex seem appropriate to you, and which push your comfort level.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.
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