What the heck? He asked you not to show up on Tinder because it was ‘just too painful’ for him. Now you see an announcement on FB that he is IN a relationship. And the woman he’s with has updated her status to ‘in a relationship’ with a different guy every 4 months for the past 2 years. Trouble Trouble with a capital T. In this article, I aim to answer the question of how to cope with your ex dating someone new.
The question is, what is your real concern? Are you worried that he’ll introduce your children to someone prematurely? Are you concerned that she may not be a person of character and quality? Is the concern that your children aren’t ready to meet someone new in their father’s life? Probably all of the above, right?
Let’s hope that your angst, though real, can be put to rest, or you can figure out a plan of action that protects your children. If your ex is advertising that he is ‘in a relationship’ so quickly post-divorce, there may be several explanations to consider.
1. He’s still burning with regret, grief, and/or unrequited desire for you.
Publicly claiming to be involved with someone new could be a way to alleviate painful feelings and hurt you back. Even if it’s a real relationship, she is probably going to be the one that helped him get over you, rather than the one he settles down with.
2. He was involved with this woman prior to the divorce and is now flaunting it publicly.
If this is the case, he is not serious about the relationship. If he were serious, he would keep it hush hush.
3. He is trying to recover his wounded manhood and self-esteem after your divorce.
He wants to be seen as – and feel like – he is lovable by someone new.
Of all of these possibilities for your ex’s behavior, only #3 is one that would be a viable reason for him to introduce your children to his new love, in time. Under this condition, your ex could possibly fall in love again and begin a real, viable relationship.
Let’s talk about how to cope with your ex dating someone new…
It may be best to talk with your ex and have a frank conversation about your concerns. After all, these children belong to both of you. The conversation should be centered around them, their perspectives, and needs. If it transforms into a discussion about your former relationship with each other, it’s gone too far.
In coping with your ex dating someone new, you are going to have to steer the course here. Talk to your ex, the co-parent of your children, about a plan for the future. Surely, you both deserve to have love in your lives going forward. That is not in question here. What is in question is when you and he will choose to introduce a new love to your children.
As strange as it may seem, this can be a mutual decision. If you both are keeping the children front and center you can agree – together – about when, and under what circumstances to bring a new, significant person into their lives.
When it comes to how to cope with your ex dating someone new, it helps to address these questions that you and your ex can answer together…
1. How long have we been in this intimate relationship before we introduce the children?
2. Do we let the other parent know before introducing the children?
3. What do we do if the children have negative reactions to the new person?
4. How much time do we want to have the children spend with our new person after they’ve met?
5. Do we think it’s important to keep some time with the children without the new person?
These are probably just the tip of the iceberg, for your to begin a dialogue. It’s important to offer this type of discussion, even if your ex isn’t interested. The effort is an indication that you are thinking of your children first, and that is what’s most important.
If it’s not successful, leave the door open. Send the questions to your ex in an email, and ask him to think about it in his own time. You’d be surprised what can happen when someone has a little time on his hands…
It’s not easy to cope with your ex dating someone new, not just because of your children, but deep down, it’s a hard pill to swallow. The best coping mechanism I can offer is to breathe, take one day at a time, and try to focus on YOUR life, and how you want that to shape up. If that includes a love life, great. If not, that’s OK too.
Ann Cerney, LCPC is a counselor, mediator, and coach for people considering, going through, or redefining their life after a divorce. A graduate of Benedictine University with a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Ann is trained in discernment counseling and helps people decide next steps for their marriage. Ann believes that feeling empowered rather than entitled is the most important factor in living a fulfilled life, divorced or married. Ann’s sweet spot is working with people she calls “Divorcelings”, or those who feel wrongly divorced or separated. To learn more, visit her site.
Like this article? Check out, “Why It’s So Infuriating When Your Ex Gets a Girlfriend?”