Blended families are a fresh start for everyone but the complications of new step children, in-laws and often two exes can cause more than a little tension. It may be true love second time around but getting your new relationships right is crucial to a happy second marriage. So how do you deal with his ex-wife?
Positive Start: Your new spouse and his ex-wife may have parted on bad terms and there could be feelings of animosity on both sides. However, particularly if children are involved, you are all tied together and your wider family dynamics are important. For this reason we suggest you try to kick things off to a good start by being polite and respectful to his ex-wife. If they can’t repair their relationship and get on civilized terms, you may need to be the voice of reason, for example taking the lead on negotiating birthday and holiday arrangements.
Keep your Distance: If your new husband and his ex-wife bicker then try to stay out of their quarrels. Resist the temptation to side with your husband and leave them to talk things through themselves without getting involved. Recognize that their issues are not your issues and set a boundary so that you don’t get drawn in by either party. Blended families need to develop healthy relationships and good communication skills in order to steer a successful path forward.
She’s not your friend: Sometimes the ex-wife and new wife get on well but be wary of falling into a close friendship. This can be a minefield and will unnerve your husband. So by all means be friendly but don’t become best buddies.
If she’s mean… you may start out with good intentions but it is possible that his ex-wife has a huge chip on her shoulder and acts mean towards both you and him. In these circumstances don’t stoop down to her level; keep the moral high ground. It’s very easy to fall into a fractious relationship with his ex-wife so do your best to rise above it all.
Keep kids away from conflict: Blended families contain kids who have likely seen their fair share of conflict. Now that you are providing a second chance for a happy family environment, shield them from witnessing any arguments between your husband and his ex-wife. Ensure they discuss thorny issues away from the kids so that their exposure to any further conflict is minimized.
When you marry second time around you may need to learn how to deal with his ex-wife. Developing a positive relationship with her will reduce the potential for arguments and encourage the easier resolution of family issues.