HANDLING CONFLICT BETWEEN YOUR CO-PARENT AND YOUR NEW PARTNER
When parents divorce, they have to remain in each other's lives to some extent. They need to communicate about the kids and attend school and extracurricular activities together. They may even continue to attend family holiday gatherings together. If they get along, they may not have clear boundaries about how much interaction is appropriate.
What happens if you get involved in a serious relationship with someone else and that person has an issue with just how much your ex is still in your life? It may be time to set some boundaries -- both with your co-parent and your new partner.
For example, if you and your co-parent are still spending a good deal of time talking or texting about things other than your kids, it may be time to draw a line with your ex. If not, your significant other may wonder whether you're really over that person -- and they may have a valid concern.
Another boundary you may need to set is how much say your significant other or new spouse has when it comes to your children. That's where some of the most serious conflicts occur.
Your new partner needs to respect and follow the rules that you and your co-parent have set -- even if they're now the kids' stepparent. Your kids have already had to adjust to you and their other parent having somewhat different rules and expectations. Having a third person come along with their own expectations is just going to cause confusion and anxiety.
Sometimes, divorcing couples will include provisions in their parenting plan regarding how much contact a significant other can have with their kids. For example, they may establish a rule that no romantic partner can spend the night while the kids are in the house. If you haven't established these rules, you may need to. This can help things go more smoothly for everyone -- especially your children.