Dealing with Jealousy of Your Ex’s New Partner
I’m going to be honest and confess I had some jealousy in the beginning of my ex’s new serious relationship. We had been divorced for almost ten years, and I was in a happy new relationship, so my jealousy was not of the romantic variety. As unflattering as it is to admit, I was upset that my kids were going to have a new “mom” in their lives.
My feelings of jealousy caught me off guard one day as I overheard her talking about my daughters and calling them “my girls.” I held back my tears until I was alone in the car and then let the sobs flow freely. Her girls, I thought incredulously! I had birthed those children and been their primary parent for the last ten years, and now she was going to come in and steal them away from me?! My irrational, insecure thoughts took over, and I imagined this younger, more exciting, richer, prettier “Mom” taking over. I envisioned myself becoming a bitter, lonely divorcee whose own kids didn’t even choose her.
While the kids were away with my ex and the soon-to-be stepmom for the weekend, I had a little pity party. A sad party for one with cookies, ice cream and wine to comfort me. Fortunately, before it was time for the kids to come back home, I gained some rationality in my thoughts. Children need all the love they can get in their lives; it could only be a good thing to have a stepmom that loved them and took good care of them every other weekend. It was my job to allow the children to love the new stepmom without feeling disloyal to me. I was the adult, whether I liked it or not.
Here are a few tips if your ex is remarrying:
- Be open to meeting and accepting the new step parent to your child.
- Promote a positive relationship between the step and the child.
- If your child comes home with complaints about the new step, listen empathetically but do not say anything negative. (If you suspect your child is in danger, then take appropriate action)
- Maybe even more difficult than #3, listen to all the positive comments they make about the new partner and act happy.
- It is NOT a competition! There is plenty of love to go around.
- Remember, it’s NOT about you. I’m sorry, as much as I want it to be, it’s just not. It’s about the kids!
I won’t pretend accepting a bonus parent for your kids is easy, but it is the right thing to do. Assuming the new stepparent is not harmful in any way, you have to put your own insecurities and jealousies under wrap. My daughters’ new stepmother brought many beneficial aspects to their lives; her strengths were very different from mine.
If I’m totally honest, there were times a bit of jealousy resurfaced and I had to sternly remind myself about tip #6. It’s wasn’t about me, it’s about the kids!