“Take the high road.” Everyone says this at every point in your divorce. Your lawyer, your coach, your therapist. You are sick and tired of hearing it. However, we have reasons for saying this. Good ones.
Remember to ALWAYS take the high road.
You have probably already had to deal with your ex having a new girlfriend around. Perhaps she was already in the picture when you split. Maybe you have already met her and maybe, with or without being asked or informed, she has already met your kids.
Now you are the one with the new boyfriend. What do you do? I can answer this for you in four words:
TAKE THE HIGH ROAD.
Would it be satisfying to do all the same things to you that he did? Sure, it would. But, is that WHO YOU ARE? Part of this journey during and after divorce is you deciding the kind of person you are and who you want to be. Do you want to be vindictive? Do you want to be bitter and unable to move on with your life? [I should hear a resounding ‘No!’ from all of you!]
Of course you don’t! So here’s where you take the high road. Follow these tips for doing just that and you’ll find you feel better and your ex will, also. [And yes, that matters.]
Let Your Ex Know
You don’t have to share any details, because that is a healthy boundary you should have in place, but it is a courtesy to tell your ex you are dating if it is someone serious and exclusive, especially if you plan to introduce your kids.
Your ex may have feelings about this. He may ask questions. You can reply with a simple, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing my private life with you,” and leave it at that. Remember, his feelings are his feelings, and you get to let him have them and keep moving forward.
If you live in a small community, where you are likely to be seen by people you both know, let him know first. He might not realize it, but you are giving him the chance to save face a little if he already knows when a mutual friend mentions that they saw you out with your new partner. Again, take the high road.
If you plan to introduce your kids, you can also let your co-parent know that that is happening so that he can help field emotions and feelings your kids might bring to him at some point. Maybe they won’t, but if you have had a discussion about it before it happens, you will both be prepared to help your kids through what could be tricky for them to navigate without some reassurance from both of you.
Be Careful on Social Media
Don’t plaster pictures of you and your new squeeze all over facebook and Instagram if you know your ex will see it. There is no good that can come from rubbing his face in your new relationship. And, if you are like me and believe that Karma is a thing, then ask yourself what you are attracting when you do that in the hopes of hurting your ex or making him jealous? Again, what kind of person do you want to be? Take the high road.
What if your ex expresses his dislike of your new boyfriend?
He is entitled to his feelings. You get to have yours. Because you are separated or divorced, you are no longer responsible to your ex for your personal life. Your choice of person to date is your choice alone, whether your ex likes it or not.
If your ex actually tells you his feelings about your new partner, you can feel free to say, “I think he’s great, and he’s great with our kids.” [If he’s actually met your kids and you know this to be true, of course.] No need to say more or justify him to your ex. [Please note: This assumes that the person you are with is a safe person for you and your kids–this does not apply to situations like your ex giving you information that your new boyfriend is a criminal or anything of that nature. Always be safe and know who you are exposing your kids and your life to.]
Based on how you handle the situation, your ex may be less likely to badmouth him to your kids when they talk about him. [Just like how you aren’t badmouthing the new girlfriend, right?] Take the high road.
The high road is LONG. It is grueling, and treacherous. It is so damn difficult to resist that feel-good-in-the-short-term LOW road–but you can do it. You NEED to do it. For yourself, and your kids, and your future relationships, take the high road.
Need help negotiating a co-parenting relationship with your ex, or navigating something else in the divorce process? I’d love to help you. Feel free to reach out to me or follow me on Instagram for practical tips and advice.