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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    What are some strategies for co-parenting with an ex-spouse who has a new partner?

    Divorce can be a difficult and destabilizing process. It causes people to seek a sense of security and stability in their lives. Unfortunately, doing so often comes after a period of volatile emotion and pain. As parents, divorcing means having to consider how to best meet the physical and emotional needs of their children. One difficult situation may arise if your ex-spouse has found a new partner and started a new relationship.

    For both adults, making sure the children’s needs come first is paramount. This can be especially hard when your former spouse’s new partner has already become part of the family. Who holds the parental role? When does the “new mom” or “new dad” step in? Here are a few strategies for making the transition as smooth as possible.

    1. Establish Clear Boundaries

    It is important to make sure that boundaries of respect and communication are set and that they are communicated clearly. Talk to your ex-spouse and be clear about what interaction you would like their new partner to have with your children. Welcome your ex-spouse’s new partner into your children’s lives and make sure they understand that your children come first.

    2. Maintain a Respectful Relationship

    It might not be easy, but maintaining a respectful relationship between yourself, your former spouse and their new partner can be incredibly important. If either you or your former spouse acts out of anger or hostility it can dramatically affect your children emotionally and mentally. So, when interacting with the new partner, try to stay calm, understanding and open to compromise.

    3. Remain Open to Collaboration & Compromise

    Although your relationship with your former partner may not be the same, being willing and able to work together for the sake of your children is important. There will likely be times where an issue will come up and it is important to remain flexible in your expectations. Finding common ground can be difficult, but by working together you may be able to find a new level of understanding and collaboration.

    4. Hang In There

    Transitions are difficult and take time. Don’t expect that everything is going to go smoothly right away. Learning to adjust to a new parent figure can be tough at first and will require patience, understanding and communication. Allow the necessary time and space for all parties involved (including your children) to adjust and slowly move forward.

    Co-parenting can be done successfully with an ex-spouse and a new partner, but it requires commitment and dedication to work. Make sure your children’s needs come first, focus on communication and establish clear boundaries. Having compassion and understanding for everyone involved can help ease the transition, and clear communication is key. Know that issues will arise and expect them to take some time, be patient and hang in there.

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