After a divorce is finalized and the family itself stabilizes, it is not unusual for each adult to begin dating other people. However, though dating is expected, the realities of the new situation are sometimes taken for granted. Dating new people means that mutual children are exposed to strangers and not all parents are comfortable with their children being around adults that they themselves do not know. Even when you are under no obligation to tell your ex-spouse about your personal life, having him or her find out from a third party could create unnecessary tension. As parents, you and your ex-spouse will interact through children, teachers, and even shared grandchildren, making conflict avoidance beneficial for everyone. Though it may be uncomfortable, telling a former spouse about a new relationship is often beneficial.
Always be Honest
Telling an ex-spouse about a new romantic partner is sometimes uncomfortable, especially if you feel that your ex is judging your new partner. It may be tempting to either withhold vital information or needlessly embellish details. Unfortunately, doing either thing could cause problems in the future if your ex-spouse discovers your dishonesty. Establishing a healthy new family dynamic is hard enough without either party feeling deceived. A person who is already unhappy about a situation could become hostile if he or she feels willfully deceived. Remaining honest about your relationship can reduce future conflict and avoid stressful situations.
Do not Involve Your Children
Mutual children should not be involved in the discussion once you have decided to tell your ex-spouse about a new relationship. Your child should not be the one to tell your ex-spouse about the relationship in person, on social media, or over the telephone. Also, if your ex-spouse and you have established guidelines for handling public displays of affection, members of the opposite sex spending the night, etc. respect those request. Do not ignore them and place your children in an uncomfortable situation by asking them to lie to their other parent.
Set Boundaries that Discourage Discussing the Relationship
Once you have discussed your new relationship with your former spouse, make sure that he or she understands that boundaries exist. Discourage any questions about aspects of your new relationship that do not directly involve your mutual children. It is possible that your ex-spouse is just curious or attempting to make small talk, but maintaining boundaries at all times is the best way to prevent future problems. Initially allowing your ex-spouse too much leeway when discussing your relationships makes it harder for you to enforce boundaries in the future.
Seek Legal Advice if Necessary
Divorces are different for each couple and there are times when your ex-spouse will not respect the boundaries you set or attempt to interfere with your new relationship. If your ex-spouse is involving your children in the situation or behaving inappropriately, consider seeking legal advice. The compassionate attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how important it is to avoid a confrontation without sacrificing your rights. Our family law attorneys can help you determine the best course of action based on your unique situation. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our four offices conveniently located in the Atlanta metro area so that we can help you decide what choice is right for you.