Baby mama dramas may keep much of America entertained thanks to the countless daytime talk shows, but when you are caught in the middle of one it is far from entertaining. Being in a relationship with a man who has a child with another woman is difficult, especially if there is conflict. You may feel isolated by your partner as most of his attention is spent dealing with his ex. While the situation may never be perfect, there are things you can both do to try and build bridges with his ex and keep drama to a minimum.
Support your boyfriend but let him do the talking when it comes to his ex. As difficult as it is to accept, anything to do with the child is between your boyfriend and his former partner. Involving yourself in issues regarding the child will only serve to aggravate his ex, causing unnecessary tension.
Learn to respect your boyfriend's ex for the part she plays in his child's life. Understand that no matter how they feel about each other, they are both of equal importance to the child. To have a good relationship with your boyfriend and ultimately his child, you need to accept that she will remain a constant in the child's life and therefore your boyfriend's, too.
Take her to one side and explain you are in no way trying to replace her in her child's life. Much of the bad feeling on her behalf may be born from jealousy. She may have genuine concerns that you are trying to take over the role of mother with her child, says family therapist Ron L. Deal. Explain to her that this is not the case, and while you care about the child's welfare, you understand that she is the mother and you respect that.
Work out if you are, inadvertently, adding to the conflict between your boyfriend and his ex. Analyze your last confrontation with her and be honest about what you may have done to cause or exacerbate the situation, recommends communication consultant Laura Benjamin. This will help you work out the triggers of potential conflict so that you can learn to avoid them.
Explain to your boyfriend that all details of your own relationship together are to remain private. Tell him you will are supportive of his efforts to be a good father but that you do not want him discussing your relationship with his ex. He cannot go running to his ex to complain about you when you have a disagreement. This will only give her ammunition for future arguments and may make her consider whether you can both provide a suitable environment for the child.
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- If she badmouths your boyfriend in an attempt to warn you off him, simply smile and thank her for the advice. Whether it is genuine or malicious, you are capable of making your own mind up about your partner.
- Remember the child is stuck in the middle as much as you are. Do not argue with your boyfriend or disrespect his ex in front of the child.
- Avoid physical confrontation with her at all costs. Whatever disagreements you both have should be sorted out as calmly as possible.
Residing in Blackpool, U.K., J.L Grayson-Avery has been writing since 1999. As a reporter her articles have appeared in "The Blackpool Gazette" and "Blackpool E" magazine. Grayson-Avery received a Higher National Diploma in journalism from Glasgow University.