Is it ever a good idea – let alone actually possible – to be friends with your ex’s new spouse? When you divorce someone in Michigan, there are usually plenty of reasons why you no longer care to share your life with them. But that doesn’t mean you can wash your hands of them completely, especially if you have children together. And, eventually, a new stepmom or stepfather is likely to be in the picture.
It’s easier for all parties involved if you make an effort to get along with your ex’s new spouse – and it’s especially easier on the kids. But wanting to do something and being able to actually pull it off are two completely different animals. Let’s just put it this way: If you’re not BFFs with your ex’s new spouse, don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong – it would actually be unusual for you to genuinely like each other and get along. You’re putting far too much pressure on yourself if you try to force a relationship: getting drinks with your ex’s spouse one-on-one would be a rare occurrence; making an effort to hang out amicably at your child’s hockey game is, well, expected.
Take the High Road After Your Michigan Divorce
The most that you need to demand of yourself is to be polite and pleasant to your ex’s spouse – and do it in the best interests of your children. Remember, you’re not the only one who went through this divorce. Your kids are experiencing their own feelings, and now they’re learning how to cope with yet another parent figure in their life, perhaps unwanted or unliked. As much as it may secretly please you to know that your kids aren’t crazy about your ex’s new significant other, keep your glee to yourself and encourage your children to be respectful, open-minded, and patient (and model good behavior by following your own advice).
On the flip side, perhaps your children are absolutely in love with your ex’s new partner. That can be a hard pill to swallow, but being rude or mean to the new husband or wife isn’t going to make you feel any better about yourself or the situation. It can hurt to think that another adult has managed to snag a piece of your child’s adoration, but try to look at things optimistically: Wouldn’t you rather your child feel comfortable and safe with someone they’re inevitably going to be spending a lot of time with?
Give Yourself the Freedom to Feel
You are at liberty to feel unfriendly toward your ex’s new spouse, but if you want to make your life easier, you’ll do your best to save the anger, frustration, or irritation you’re processing for meetings with your therapist, closest friends, or clergyman. Work out the negative emotions before they eat you alive, or come screaming out of you at the least appropriate time.
The least of your worries at this point is whether you have a new friend in your ex’s spouse. It’s hard enough to make friends as an adult – trying to find people who share common interests, hobbies, or personalities – let alone forcing a (potentially unwanted) relationship with the new man or woman in your former spouse’s life.
Michigan Divorce Help is an east side law firm working in the tri-county area, handling family matters primarily in Macomb County. Contact us to discuss your concerns, questions, and divorce needs and to schedule your no-cost initial interview.