We’re human. We bleed. We feel. We have opinions. We have insecurities. We have eyes.
These facts all play a part in how we feel about our spouse and their relationships with ex and their ex’s family. A lot of clients are unsure about how and why they feel a certain way about the matter. Others have a very direct opinion that, to them, warrants no further thoughts.
For example: Sheila may be of the opinion that once two people are divorced, there’s no alternative but a clean and permanent disassociation. Margaret, on the other hand, may feel like it’s circumstantial. “Since we ended it on amicable terms and we were good friends before we got married, there’s nothing wrong with staying friends after the fact. Plus, his parents are awesome!”–says Margaret.
I typically ask clients to answer 6 situational questions as a means of wrapping their head around this topic.
1. How do you generally feel about distance and the ex?: In other words, taking your current situation out of consideration, do you find it natural and healthy to maintain friendships between exes, or not? Of course, some relationships can’t reach that point based on how it ended but generally speaking, what are your views? This will go a long way in understanding your feeling about your spouse’s friendship with his ex. If you think it’s unnatural in the general sense, his feelings and rationale about the matter will seem irrational to you and you’ll be skeptical.
2. What, if anything, does his ex have that you feel you don’t have? Are there things his ex has that you don’t feel like you have to offer? This could be a big reason for your discomfort. There could also be ties to questions 5 and 6 below.
3. What were the circumstances of their divorce? The real question within the question here is whether or not you feel like they could still have feelings for each other.
4. How and how often do they currently associate with each other? When they’re together, what are circumstances? Is it because they share custody with children? Is it that they went back to the friends mode they had prior to them being married? Are you in the picture at all when they are together? We can invent scenarios or we can investigate just what the relationship is by how and how often they associate with each other.
5. Do I trust my spouse? Underlying nearly everything I’ve laid out is this bottom line question. When we have issues with our significant other spending time with anyone of the opposite sex, a lot of it is tied to whether or not we trust them.
6. Am I secure in myself? Another thing underlying everything else is whether we’re secure in ourselves. Are you? Or are your insecurities projecting on your husbands relationships with his ex?
We have eyes and maybe there are things we see that make us uncomfortable. We have feelings–jealousy and insecurity are just two that could fit. We have opinions – and the view that two people who are divorced ought not be friends may just be one of them.
The real point is that we need to investigate our heads and our hearts to understand why we have these reservations. Are the smoke signals in our minds due to a real fire or a burning jealousy that may be without warrant? Or, is there real cause for concern that needs to be jointly addressed between you and your spouse?
Investigate it, I’ll say again. You owe it to yourself to take your thoughts and feelings and put them into perspective before you let worry, anger or skepticism creep in. Having a Q&A with yourself is a good start!
- Why I Don’t Want To Be Friends With My Ex: Doing So Would Mean Excusing Too Much Bad Behavior
- Can You Be Friends With Your Ex? And Is It Wise?
- 5 Ways To Maintain Healthy Relationships With Your Ex’s Family
- I Am Best Friends With My Ex: Yes, It Is Possible!