You can survive just about anything when you focus on your kids.
Then there’s everybody else who has ever gotten divorced with kids. Everybody else struggles with how to survive co-parenting because they have to stay in regular contact with their ex and it’s about the last thing they want to do.
Then when their ex finds a new love and introduces this love to their children, their struggles escalate dramatically.
As uncomfortable, complicated and horrible as it feels, there are really only two reasons why anyone has difficulties with figuring out how to survive co-parenting with their ex and their new partner:
- Your ex and/or their new love is toxic.
- You’re not over your divorce yet.
Although it’s really easy to place the blame for all the trouble you’re having at your ex’s doorstep (and in some cases, that’s EXACTLY where it belongs), it takes a very strong person, just like you are, to consider the possibility you’re not quite over your divorce.
You know that your troubles with co-parenting are stemming largely from your need for more healing after divorce if one or more of these statements ring true for you.
- You have difficulty behaving as an adult when you’re around your ex and their new mate.
- You are worried about the new person replacing you as a parent.
- You struggle with seeing your ex in a new relationship.
- You get frustrated or angry when your ex does something differently from the way you want them to.
It’s completely normal to struggle with these things when your ex has a new relationship regardless of whether you wanted the divorce or not. Despite how miserable you feel and how much more difficult it is to co-parent now, you can still be a great parent.
Remembering these 5 things will help you make it through learning how to survive co-parenting with your ex and their new partner when you’re not completely over your divorce yet:
- You can’t control your ex or their new partner.
You can only control you which means accepting that your ex and their SO will do things differently from you. That doesn’t automatically make them wrong or bad (unless they do something illegal or that endangers your children).
- Get clear about what’s most important to you as a parent.
Co-parenting is about the kids. It’s not about you, your ex, or their new mate. So do what you need to do to make co-parenting work because kids who adjust best to divorce are those who bear the least conflict in their lives.
- Your kids will always love you as their mom/dad so long as you continue to show your love for them.
Make the effort to be a part of your children’s daily lives. By stepping into their worlds you teach each of them that they are important to you because of who they are.
- Just because your marriage to your ex didn’t work out doesn’t mean that you won’t find a new relationship.
Learning your ex is in a new relationship can be really painful if you’re not over your divorce yet because it can resurface those feelings of being unwanted or unlovable. Take the time to finish healing so you can be the best parent possible.
- Take care of yourself.
If you’re not completely over your divorce yet, everything is harder than it needs to be – not just co-parenting. Taking the time to nurture yourself is a necessity. You need to recharge yourself so you have the energy to be there for your kids.
There’s nothing simple about learning how to co-parent. And it does get more complicated when your ex starts a new relationship. But by making sure you’re clear about what you can and can’t do to make co-parenting easier, you’ll be able to survive co-parenting with your ex and their new love.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who want support in learning how to survive co-parenting. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice or learn more about me and my work by exploring this website.
Looking for more tips about being a great parent after divorce? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Coparenting.