What are the benefits of having a good relationship with your partners Ex?

May 20, 2021

Benefits of having a good relationship with your partner’s ex.

This is an article that I wrote for Yahoo style 

 In so many relationships the partner’s ex casts a shadow over the relationship.  They were there, they loved each other and had a history together.  They may have had children too.

They are often an unseen mystery and you will only hear the negatives about why they broke up and how unfair the arrangements over children and finances were. 

There are many things that can bind us to our ex; it may be children that we still have shared parenting over, it may be sadness that the relationship ended, a wish that we were still together, or it could be guilt or bitterness.

For all of your sakes it is really important to leave the negative thoughts behind, hold onto good memories, but not be trapped by them, and to embrace future possibilities.

Here are 7 ways of avoiding conflict with your Ex:

  1. Create Clarity

Get as much as you can agreed up front, ideally without getting into adversarial legal battles that will be financially and emotionally expensive. This should include money, split of assets, housing, children and contact. Once agreed; accept this and move on.

If you can, it pays to be generous to avoid creating lifelong resentments and disputes.  An amicable parting can be more beneficial than a luxury holiday every year for the rest of your life.

You should also agree a way of talking through issues on a regular basis so that they are resolved before they create anger and dissonance.  When you do have conversations; they will go so much better if you are calm, sober and focused on the outcome you want to achieve. 

  1. Focus on the children (if you have them)

 Couples that split up can often create a battleground where the children are used to gain leverage and make the other one suffer. This is damaging to both of you and hugely damaging to your children and, potentially to their future children.

Become the best co-parents that you can be to give your creations the best life that they can have. 

Discuss and agree what your joint parenting standards will be to ensure you are speaking with one voice on topics such as bedtimes, food, drink, activities, electronic devices and friends.

Avoid getting into a competition over who has the most fun and buys the best presents.

Demonstrate to your children that you both still love them and show that even though their parents are apart, that they are reasonable people and great parents.

  1. Be Flexible with children

Issues over childcare, access and handover can create huge tensions for you and the children.  If the agreement is for access on alternate weekends and certain days during the week then accept that life may not go smoothly, and this may need to change. Aim to end up with happy children and the split being roughly as agreed.

  1. Set Clear Boundaries

What contact do you want to have with each other?  Do you want to totally disconnect and never hear from them again or do you want to be friends?  Think through how you will feel if they are happy in a new relationship or if they are sad and lonely and want to call you every night and sob on your shoulders.

Yes, you once loved them, but you need to let go, give them space and move on to another relationship.  If you see your role as their rescuer; you will both be trapped in an unhealthy pattern

  1. Remind yourself why they are your Ex

How did the relationship end and was it your decision; their decision or a mutual decision. From what you know now, would anything have changed?  Are you now both in a fundamentally different place where the relationship could work better?

If you met your ex today as a complete stranger would you be attracted to them and want to start a relationship with them?

  1. Avoid Blame and Bitterness

It can feel great to blame your partner for what has happened and easy to carry that bitterness with you into your future.  This will not give you a happy future and will trap you in the role of victim.

Try and accept that it has happened and that you can have a better future. Hold onto the happy memories and what you have gained from having the relationship.

  1. Focus on the future you want

This is an opportunity to create your ideal future relationship, not to replay old dreams.

A great way of getting clarity on this can be to get a large piece of paper and some coloured pens.  Let the thoughts and feelings flow and draw a representation of what your life is like right now and then what it will be like with your ideal future relationship.  Look at this and see what it is telling you. Plan out what you need to have happen to achieve this.