When you walked down the aisle to meet your spouse at the altar, your heart was full. Dreams made you feel like you were walking on air. You could see nothing but love in your partner’s eyes. Your future seemed bright enough to be blinding. Reality hit after the ceremony when you remembered there is an ex-wife in the picture. This woman was a major part of your husband’s life. She may be the mother of his children. You need to figure out how you can get along. Otherwise, you could drive a wedge between you and the person you want to be with for the rest of your life.
1. Set the Right Tone in the Beginning
You shouldn’t expect to be best friends with the person who came before you in your partner’s life. However, you need to find a way to be cordial. You can start the conversation by telling your husband, “I want to learn how to get along with your ex wife.” You can make every effort to steer your course in the right direction with your spouse’s former partner. Ask her for a meeting in a neutral setting, such as a restaurant. Think of it as a day when you are establishing a peace treaty. When you treat your husband’s ex with respect, you are more likely to receive it in return.
2. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
You need to be open to conversations with your husband’s ex-wife concerning important matters. This especially holds true if your husband had children before you became a couple. Ask your husband’s ex for the ground rules about her children. Find out what is allowed and what isn’t. Ask about any dietary restrictions. Learn about bedtime routines. Discuss the use of technology, such as computers, video games, and cellphones. The last thing you want is to be placed in the middle between your husband and his ex-wife. If your husband’s ex-wife has an issue with child support, alimony, or anything else related to their life together, pass the information along to your husband. Make sure he follows up.
3. Sing the Ex-Spouse’s Praises
Emphasize the positive about your husband’s ex-wife whenever possible. Compliment her interior design and sense of style. If she is a financial wizard who is wise with her spending, point it out. Most importantly, give your husband’s ex-wife credit for being a good mother. It’s hard to be negative around a person who is always positive. Bring the sunshine with you when you interact with your husband’s ex. You may pave the way to a friendship. If not, hopefully, you will be able to be in the same room with each other without being awkward.
4. Be Prepared to Compromise
You can’t always get your way when you are in any relationship. That includes any time you need to deal with your husband’s ex-wife. If you are going to become a stepmother, you are going to be a part of raising your husband’s children. Volunteer to go to sporting events, school functions, and provide transportation part of the time. If your husband shares custody with his ex-wife, talk to your spouse about being flexible for special occasions. There may be a concert his ex-wife would like to attend with the children when it is not her scheduled time. Instead of refusing without any discussion, work out another time when the children can be with you and your husband.
It’s not easy to deal with your husband’s previous spouse. You may feel like he brought a hefty load of baggage into your relationship. If you love your husband, you will have to find a way to accept his ex-wife as a facet of his life. If children are a part of the package, make sure you and your husband speak respectfully about their mother. You should expect her to treat you in the same way. Set the ground rules concerning your expectations from the start. You’ll have a more positive relationship with your spouse and his children when you can keep the peace with his ex-wife.