How To Make Friends with a Spouse’s Ex

Unless you met and, later on, married someone who has no past marriages, you will have to deal with the fact that your spouse has an ex.  She may even have kids from a previous marriage, which is another issue you have to contend with.  However, you love your spouse and you already knew her history even before you exchanged vows at the altar.  Therefore, what you just need to do is to make friends with her ex.  This is the only way that undesired issues are avoided in the future. Here is how to do it.

  1. Do not think so much about your spouse’s past marriage.  Instead, think only of how to make your relationship with your spouse a lot healthier.  If she has kids from the previous marriage, consider her status as a mother to them too.  Of course, you need to make friends with her ex-husband with the interest of the children in mind.
  2. The children will always be a connection for your spouse and her ex.  That is something that you should already have considered before.  He has the rights and responsibilities as a parent to the kids.  Therefore, if the kids happen to live with you, spend time to talk about child rearing with him.
  3. In those moments when you have a discussion with your spouse’s ex about the kids, always make it a point to acknowledge his contributions in raising the kids.  Never utter anything that may sound like you are criticizing his manner of treating the kids.
  4. The kids will always recognize their dad even if he has been separated from them.  Therefore, you should never give an impression to them that you are substituting him or, worse, competing with their dad for their attention.  Instead, show to them that you are friends with their father.  They will certainly talk well of you to their dad too.
  5. The golden rule that certainly applies here is to think of you being in his shoes.  Definitely, being separated from the family is enough to bring someone into so much pain.  Therefore, you must see to it that such pain is not made worse by treating him like a stranger when in the company of your family.  The best attitude is to consider him not just as a good friend but to treat him as a relative.

It will be nice if you can take him out for some beers once in a while.  This is just to make him more comfortable with you.  However, you should avoid talking about any ticklish issue during these times.  You may also ask him about his current romantic affairs.  If he is on his way to another marriage, congratulate him and encourage him about this.  Tell him that despite his entering another stage in his life, you will always consider him as your stepchildren’s father and your friend.  Remember, by being a good friend to your spouse’s ex, dealing with the stepchildren becomes much easier.


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