Navigating relationships is hard, but when your partner is fresh out of a serious marriage with a family life, navigation is so much harder.
Nobody sets out with the intention of entangling themselves in a love triangle. At all costs, our brains fight to defend ourselves from pain. Sadly, people do not control who their heart desires. Sometimes sparks fly in the most unlikely places. If you find yourself falling head over heels for a man trapped between his ex and yourself, here are my top tips on dating men that are fresh out of a marriage – separated, but not legally divorced yet.
Love is never easy. It’s even more problematic with more people in the picture. You need to be sure the person embodies everything you see for your own future. These types of relationships are not meant to be short-lived or just a fling. It can impact a family dynamic, childhoods, and your own wellbeing.
With that said, read on if this man means the world to you…
Tip One: The Jealous Ex
The jealous ex is a woman we have all been once before as well as having witnessed. Any woman who says otherwise is a liar. Jealousy is the most natural emotion known to humankind.
However, do not underestimate the scheming nature of an angry woman. They will use devious, manipulative plots to cause rifts in the relationship before it has even begun.
First and foremost, you must avoid her wrath at all costs. The fire will take a long time to burn out. You don’t want to engage with a rattle snake you just stepped on, so back the hell away. No matter what advances they make toward you, take a deep breath, and do the right thing by your man. Anything else will only cause turmoil for him, and in turn, you.
The best way to deal with a jealous ex? Empathy. Remember all the times you stood in those shoes feeling just as bitter and vengeful. Spite doesn’t get a person anywhere, so let them tire themselves out. Being the bigger person is the most beneficial, mature form of revenge.
That means, don’t leave her out. You’re not there to replace her, especially if they have children together. If there’s a birthday for your boo and you bake a cake, send some pieces around for baby mama. Show you will always act toward them with grace whether they try to tear you down or not.
Be accomodating. Marriage means mess. There will be shared assets, finances, properties and a tonne of trash to sieve through which takes time. Understand your partner won’t have faced this adversity before and support him through it. Give advice where it’s warrented, comfort where needed and praise when deserved.
Remove access to your social media – block the lassie next level: facebook, twitter, instagram, pintrest, you name it, if you can find her on there, block her. It is in everyone’s best interest to get that out the way early on. Stops unnecessary stalking (only virtual mind you, the rest requires CCTV footage) which fuels a wild woman’s rage.
Tip Two: The Children
The most important aspect of your relationship will revolve around your partner’s child if they have any. Children from previous relationships must be placed as the top priority, not only by the parents but also by their significant others.
By taking on a new relationship with baggage, you have a responsible to be reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
Jealousy can also apply to children. On one side, a child could become jealous of the time spent with a partner. On the other, a partner could become jealous of the attention devoted to the child. This is a natural process.
The best way to deal with these negative emotions is to reframe your thoughts in a positive inclusive way. For example, if the child is jealous the parent and partner can find innovative ways to involve the child to spend more time with their father such as day trips, projects or hobbies. If the partner is jealous of the attention, they can find ways to show interest in the child and their development, engaging with their interests, projects or hobbies. If the mother is jealous of the attention, remind her that more people to love a child is a blessing, and that nobody can replace a child’s mother.
Children need security to feel safe. Their welfare and happiness should be at the essence of every decision made within your new relationship, even if that leads to a detrimental consequence for yourself, or the relationship.
That said, sometimes parents can become overly emotional and blindsighted by their experience. This can lead to using a child as a weapon against the other parent as an attempt to control them.
If this happens, you must speak out. For all other purposes, child arrangement and care is not your concern. Safeguarding is a community concern. The emotional damage caused to a child through manipulation as a weapon to control leads to childhood trauma and can manifest later in development as mental health conditions, behaviour challenges, impulsive decision making and other concerning impacts. This very well could risk your relationship, but at the heart of everything, you must put that child first.
At any point, you find it difficult to follow this advice, imagine yourself as a young child in the same predicament. How would you want to be treated? Follow your gut instinct accordingly.
Tip Three: The Broken Man
Men, on average, find it more challenging to interpect and process their emotions because of the socialisation they receive as children.
Now, society has adapted, the type of male socialisation children receive has expanded to include more stereotypically feminine value, this could increase male emotional intellect for future generations.
Until then, women need to be flexible.
A lot of men will choose to withdraw and avoid a scenario if they sense it will cause conflict. This can cause women to push harder, trying to help men analyse their emotions to improve the outcome of the situation. A reaction as such leads only to the men further isolating themselves from the feelings they feel unequipped to deal with. In their own time, they must be allowed to come to the conclusion alone that these unresolved emotions must be worked through to properly move on and become a better parent.
It may be they’ve been involved in toxic relationship, potentially for many years. Their mental health psyche could be damaged and in a state of repair. If they have children, this can cause an onset of depression, separation anxiety and anger as they go through the changes with child arrangements. This is often made even more painful for them if their ex acts in emotionally abusive ways toward them. This could include blackmailing them with their child, threatening them with exclusion from family holidays or even to go as far as stalking the new partner (virtually or physically) to make the relationship uncomfortably awkward.
All you can do in this circumstance is raise your head high, tell your man how much you love him and will support him throughout this in spite of whatever troubles may come your way. Remind him why you fell in love with him in the first place. They need to know you’re in it for the long haul. You must be tough to scare off to make in the world of dating separated men, especially with angry ex wives and cherished children in the picture.
Tip Four: Don't Neglect Yourself
No matter how hard we try, sometimes things won’t go our way.
That’s why you must learn to love yourself. Take care of yourself as loyally as you care for your man. Spend time developing your goals, dreams and desires. Find fun in your hobbies. Visit your old friends. You never know what whirlwind could change your life.
It might be that bitter badgering ex, manipulation over child arrangements, family feuds, financial worries or malignant mental health… whatever the cause of a relationship breakdown it is vital you remember to be forgiving towards yourself.
There’s no such thing as forever. If you’re truly meant for each other, or feel an unearthly connection (that some people may refer to as soul-mates), than no amount of jealousy, petty people, time or distance will stop you from finding each other again.
It could be that the ex needs space and time to work through her destructive nature. Maybe your partner needs to focus on his parenting. Is it too far fetched that you yourself need to settle with the situation more before being able to move forward?
If you love this man, and he loves you, it will work out. No matter the hurdles along the way.