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The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part 3

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The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part 3

The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part 3 by Melissa Burns

Part III: Challenges Ex-Spouses Face When Someone New Comes into the Picture

{3:18 minutes to read} In Parts 1 and 2, I discussed some of the concerns that separated or divorced parents deal with when a new significant other comes into the picture. The concerns I discussed focused on the safety and well-being of the children.

In part 3, I will discuss the challenges ex-spouses face when they each begin to see new people, especially before an agreement is reached. You are just ending one relationship, and while it is understandable to want companionship, you are not doing anyone a favor by jumping into a new relationship before you have brought closure to the one you are still in.

Even if you met someone long after you felt that the marriage was over, it is possible that your current spouse will still feel that this other person contributed, at least in some way, to the end of your marriage. If you have not reached an agreement, the many emotions tied to the knowledge of this new person in your ex’s life can slow or even derail your negotiations. These emotions may include:

  • Jealousy;
  • Anger;
  • Resentment;
  • Insecurity;
  • Sadness/mourning/grief; and/or
  • Revenge.

As discussed in Parts 1 & 2 of this series, there is also the perceived threat that a new significant other might replace you as mom/dad. Bottom line: It’s hard to see your ex “moving on,” especially when you have not.

While these feelings are understandable, if allowed to continue, they can create a toxic environment that will bleed into your divorce negotiations and possibly your future relationships.

What resources are at your disposal to handle these emotions so that they do not interfere with your life moving forward?

A mediator should be able to put you in touch with people who can provide additional support as you process your emotions, such as:

  • Mental health professionals;
  • Clergy; and/or
  • Support groups.

Many mediators have professional relationships with such people and trust that they can help.

While it may be comforting to discuss these issues with friends and family, there is a tendency for these individuals to be biased. After all, they are on your side only and may not be equipped to offer well-considered advice. In fact, their support may exacerbate your emotional responses, contributing to the problem, rather than helping.

There are many reasons people decide to end their marriage, and while they may agree the relationship is over, it is usually not easy. With time, many couples reach a place where they can be happy for the other person. Just be mindful and consider how your ex may feel about seeing you in a new relationship.

Melissa Burns

16 Pearl St., Suite 201
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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