The Pros And Cons Of Being Friends With Your Partner's Ex

Should you be friends with your new partner’s ex-wife? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people think it would work out to their benefit to be friends or at least become friendly with the ex-wife and mother of your partner’s children. Others think that there might be too much resentment, too much jealousy and too many feelings of being scorned to ever have a friendship work out between the two of you.

According to a poll conducted by NBC, 48 percent of those surveyed say that they managed to remain friends with their exes after their break up. Only 18 percent said that they tried to stay as friends, but it just didn’t work out for them.

Here are just a reasons why you should be friends with your husband’s ex and why you should maybe back off. Not only will it benefit you and your family, but your relationship with your ex-partner, too.

Setting Borders

If your partner shares custody with his children with his ex, this will be a good way of setting borders from the very beginning. After all, there will be two sets of rules and regulations: mom’s and dad’s. The last thing any new girlfriend, partner, or wife wants to do is get caught in the middle. When you set borders from the very beginning, everyone knows what to expect. Plus, a happy ex equals a happy partner and of course, happy children and that’s what counts the most.

One mom wrote on Mothering.com, “I love my ex's live-in girlfriend, because I love my ex, and she makes him happy. She's good to him, which translates to being good to his (my) kid, and propping him up so that he can be a better dad. Old fashioned guy that he is, he's a mess when he's alone. I don't want him to be a mess. I can't even imagine starting a life with someone who already has a child, so I try not to scare her -I have the feeling she's scared of me, anyway, and doubts my intentions. Hopefully with time she'll understand that I'm genuinely fond of her.”

blended family
Credit: iStock / monkeybusinessimages

It Shows Maturity

If you can manage to maintain a relationship with your partner’s ex, it will show a great deal of maturity and as a result, show the children involved that everyone can get along in a peaceful manner. Regardless of what your position may be – whether it’s dad’s new girlfriend, fiancé, or even new wife – his ex will be a continued presence in everyone’s life. It’s best to treat her as an equal and an alley than an enemy. If she has certain expectations, rules and regulations for the kids, it would be in your best interest to follow them. Of course, only if they are reasonable and it doesn’t make life difficult for any of the parties involved.

It’s Less Confrontational

If you are the “new girl” in a family, the last thing you would want is a confrontational meeting or a one-on-one conversation with the mother of your partner’s kids that would quickly turn ugly. It’s one in which she would hurl any possible accusations made against you, especially when it comes to your presence or the decisions you might make with the kids. As friends, at least she knows that you are with her and on her side, rather than against her.


There Might Be Resentment

If you happen to be the “other woman” in the relationship, there might be a strong possibility that she will never accept you as the new woman in your husband’s life, especially if she feels as though she’s being replaced. But know this: you will never be the mom. And you certainly won’t be in a position to replace her, too. As Babble likes to put it, “It’s easy to feel maternal when you live with someone else’s child. You may wipe noses, brush unruly hair and chase away scary monsters, but when it comes right down to it, you’re not the mom. The BM gets first dibs at school plays and junior proms; you get to hear about the fun stuff secondhand from your man the next day.”

So if there are still feelings of resentment, keep your distance. Know when to back off. But at the same time, don’t make the children pay for any of the things the adults have done to hurt each other with their behavior. Let them know that no matter what happens, you will be there for them, for better or for worse.

blended family
Credit: iStock / Pilin_Petunyia

Feelings Of Jealousy

As the ex-wife, she might feel as though she will always be the “first” in everything: the first wife, the first person to give him children, the first love he’s ever had. It might be very hard for her to shake off that feeling of superiority.

A Your Tango poll suggests that 71 percent of those surveyed say that they thought too much about their ex, while 57 percent of singles say that thinking about their ex prevents them from finding new love. Of course, that’s not the kind of position that you would want to be in. Unless you absolutely know that everyone has moved on and that their romantic feelings are dead on arrival, so to speak, then being friends with your partner’s ex might complicate the entire situation. You might be doing what’s best for their children, but might also end up walking away with a broken heart, too.

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