Separation and divorce are already difficult hurdles to handle. However, navigating the moment when the mother of your child has moved on with someone else can bring on feelings of jealousy, fear and even anger. In order to effectively cope with this jarring change, it is important to first step back and analyze your feelings.
Mind Your Manners
“Jealousy is an inner consciousness of one’s own inferiority. It is a mental cancer.”B. C. Forbes
Envy and jealousy are ugly emotions that tend to bring out the worst in people. If the mother of your child has decided to move on, the most important thing to do is take a step back, breathe and remember that your actions moving forward will not only impact their partnership, but the relationship that you have with your kids as well.
According to studies done at Michigan State University, “Research is clear on the importance of having positive adults in the lives of children; the more the merrier.” While you may not love the idea of another person joining your family unit, this decision is out of your control.
However, you can decide how you react to this change. Choosing to undermine their relationship or to act rudely towards this person is not going to do you any favors. In fact, it may cause your child to feel that he or she needs to choose sides. Thus, be mindful of your words and actions. Be cordial and respectful to everyone involved.
MSU experts recommend treating this person as if they were a part of a business exchange. In other words, keep it professional. Moreover, do not involve your children in your unresolved feelings.
This means do not put them in the middle, never use them to find out information about this person or don’t ask them to compare this person to you. Be an adult and make sure to prioritize your child’s wellbeing.
Discuss The New Relationship
While it is not your place to dictate what your ex-partner can or cannot do, you are still the parent of your child. Once she has brought someone new into the picture, take the initiative to set up a time to talk in a neutral location.
Discuss concerns that you may have and ask any questions that you have in regards to the impact on your child. If there is something that you disagree upon, work on finding a compromise.
Studies conducted through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) note that “Increasing evidence indicates that successful coparenting relationships are beneficial for children’s socioemotional development. These coparenting relationships are not merely characterized by the absence of destructive conflict, but involve active cooperation and communication between parents.”
What does this mean? First, keep the conversation civil. Second, be positive throughout the exchange. You want to avoid accusatory or negative comments. Third, focus on this person’s involvement with your children. Leave yourself out of it. Even if you are hoping to rekindle something in the future, right now being understanding and kind is paramount.
Meet The New Person In Your Ex-Partner’s Life
Additionally, if you see fit, request to meet this individual. If they are going to be a part of your child’s life, then it is not a far fetched appeal.
Better yet, ask to get together with your child present. This can allow you to see this person interact with everyone, potentially giving you some peace of mind about this person’s presence in your baby’s life.
Furthermore, when you do meet her new partner, focus the conversation on your children. Talk about what you love to do most with them. Then ask him about their relationship with your child. What fun activities has they done with them? What do they have in common with them? Be sincere and courteous with your questions.
Lastly, take the time to compliment then on finding commonalities and working to create a friendship with your child. This is a positive sign that this person truly cares and that your child is in a good environment when they are present.
Remember That You Are Not Being Replaced
No matter what the situation may be, you and the mother of your child parting ways does not take away your title of “Dad”. You will forever be the man that your children look up to and lean on in times of need. It is important that you recognize this new person as someone who will be in your child’s corner.
As hard as it may be to accept, your child having another supportive and loving person in their life is a wonderful gift. Work towards embracing this change and remaining impartial, despite your feelings of regret or sadness.
Continue To Build Your Relationship With Your Child
If your biggest concern is being pushed out of the picture, then don’t let that happen! Make a point to spend regular, quality time with your child. Bond with them over shared pastimes, help them with school work and go to their football games or ballet recitals. BE PRESENT. That is the only thing your child truly cares about — that you are there.
Also remember the importance of putting them first. There will be times when they will want the WHOLE family involved, including the mother of your child’s new significant other.
Be welcoming and know that your child will benefit in the long run. The last thing you want is for your kid to become uncomfortable trying to navigate their new family life.
Moreover, always keep structure within the two households. Being the guy who never requires a bedtime or does not make their child follow the rules is only going to put a strain on your relationship with your ex-partner. This could also impact your custody agreement so work to maintain uniformity.
Final Thoughts – The Mother Of My Child Has Moved On
Accepting that the mother of your child has moved on is a difficult thing to wrap your mind around. If you hope to rekindle your relationship, the most important action to take right now is to show kindness and acceptance for this other person. Then take the initiative to show up for your kids and own up to your mistakes and shortcomings of the past. Additionally, make a point to apologize for these actions and better yourself in the future.
Most importantly, act with no expectations. Sometimes the best way to win someone back is to improve upon yourself and let them see your growth from afar. Be compassionate and show kindness. It is likely that over time, she will reconsider the decision to separate.
However, even if this reconciliation never pans out, maintaining a pleasant relationship or even a friendship with your ex-partner will have a beneficial impact on your child. It is imperative that you remember that this stressful scenario is likely hardest on them. It is your job as a parent to always put their wellbeing first.