Communicating effectively with a spouse’s new partner can be heartbreaking or surprisingly easy. It depends on the partner’s personality and what responsibilities they take on during the process. Managing your emotions toward the partner can be complex. This is a task to take on with the help of a mental health professional.
Consider starting the relationship in a friendly and thoughtful manner. Having a light meal or snacks outside to get to know one another is an easy, low-pressure way to start interacting. Avoid talking about finances or the arguments between you and your spouse on the first meeting. Doing so will put their new partner on edge. It will give them less incentive to communicate with you.
Talk with your mental health professional about how to cut emotional ties with your spouse. It is important that you and your spouse refrain from arguing as if you are together anymore. Avoiding conflicts with your spouse can help you recover from the divorce. It will also help your spouse and the new partner reduce stress.
A spouse’s new partner may engage in parenting or start to assist with the family business. You can fight them on this through legal motions in court. This can be expensive and ineffective. Once a new partner is a key part of your spouse’s life, they may be around quite often. It can be very hard to limit their influence after a messy divorce in Jefferson County or anywhere else in Alabama.
The questions to ask yourself as they become more involved in your spouse’s and children’s lives are:
- Do I trust this person? If not, what do I need to know about them to trust them regarding the divorce? The children? The business? How can I get them to share that information? (See if you can get the information from the new partner directly rather than from your spouse.)
- If I cannot trust them, what can my Birmingham divorce attorney tell me about how to limit their involvement with the children and the business?
- What ways can the new partner and I help one another?
- Can I talk with them more easily than with my spouse? How do I want to work with that going forward?
- How can I bond with them to smooth out the process of an easy divorce, difficult contested divorce, or custody proceedings?
- What work do I need to do to ensure that I recover from anger and jealousy toward them? How can I calm myself after talking with them?
Recommendations for coping with a new partner include:
- Avoid the expectation that your former spouse will always be with the new partner. The couple may break up or not talk to each other during rough periods.
- Recognize your spouse and their new partner are not perfect at communicating with one another. Do not share information with the new partner and expect them to relay the information to your spouse in a timely manner. Put important information in writing, like an email or a letter. Provide it directly to your spouse.
- Understand that your spouse and their new partner may have different arrangements regarding finances and sharing financial information than you do or did with your spouse. Talk with your spouse about how to discuss money matters in front of their new partner.
- If you have children, talk about holiday and summer plans with both your spouse and their new partner present. That way all parties’ voices are heard.
- Communicating with the new partner can involve consideration that you deserve the same amount of respect that you give them.
As you move forward to build your relationship with your spouse’s new partner, be aware that one day you may have a new partner of your own. The way you treat your spouse’s new partner now will determine how much grace they show that person. If you have children, know your children are watching how you model behavior. They will give your spouse’s new partner more respect if you do so as well.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!