The aftermath of a divorce can be a shock to the system. Previously, you were living with and had a marital relationship with your former spouse. Once you live separately and that person is no longer involved in your day-to-day activities, you can feel a whole slew of emotions that are all normal: a sense of relief, a sense of loneliness, distress, anxiousness, or happiness among others.
But what happens when your former spouse starts dating? You may feel unaffected by the news or you may be devastated. Whatever your emotions, having your former spouse date can affect you, especially if you share children with them. Keep reading for some tips on how to cope with your former spouse dating to make things a little easier.
Allow Yourself to Feel
Even if you initiated your divorce, that doesn’t mean you didn’t love your former spouse or don’t still have feelings for them. Marriages end for all sorts of reasons and not all of them are a result of a loveless marriage. Whether you were married for decades or months, you had a strong connection with your former spouse and at some point had a love for that person as a partner.
Spotting your ex-spouse on a date, seeing a photo on social media, or hearing that they’re dating through the grapevine can be a major blow. Whether you are still in love with them or if your love has morphed into a friendly respectful co-parenting relationship, you may feel jealous or upset when you discover that your former spouse is dating again. It’s perfectly normal to feel these emotions and it’s important to allow yourself to feel them. Grieve the loss of your marriage and acknowledge the fact that your spouse is dating – you’ll feel better with time.
Remind Yourself Why You Divorced
When you do start to feel jealous or hurt about your spouse dating other people, remind yourself why you divorced. As humans, we tend to remember the positive things about an ex when we miss them rather than remembering the reasons why the relationship ended in the first place. According to Psychology Today, our minds will shift negative experiences behind positive ones when it comes to former partners when we long for who we wanted them to be versus who they were.
When you do feel sadness or jealousy when it comes to your ex-spouse dating or entering into a new relationship, remind yourself why you divorced in the first place. Whether it was for irreconcilable differences, infidelity, or other reasons, try to focus on the bad parts of the relationship that led to the divorce rather than the positive – mind over matter.
Try Moving on Yourself
If you feel emotionally ready, start dating. Meeting new people and going on dates will immerse you into a whole new world of experiencing what it’s like to date other people. Whether your marriage was a healthy one or not, meeting other people is good for the soul and can help you move on post-divorce. You don’t have to enter into a new relationship if you’re not ready, but it may help you feel less emotional about your ex-spouse dating again if you’re also enjoying the company of other people. Who knows, you may even fall in love all over again in the process!
Be Happy for Your Ex-Spouse
If your ex-spouse is truly happy and they’ve found a partner that treats them and your children (if you share children) well, then try being happy for them. It can be a challenge to overcome the idea of a new individual entering your child’s life, taking on the role of a potential stepparent, and being an important part of their lives. If they seem like a good match for your former spouse and your children like them, then try being genuinely happy for the new relationship. It can be difficult to let go when you harbor negative feelings toward your ex; letting those feelings go and being happy for and wanting the best for them can make you feel much better.
Sometimes we lose ourselves in a relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of being in a marriage and being used to sharing every aspect of life with your spouse. You tend to do nearly everything together including daily routines, sharing friends, and attending the same social gatherings. Getting divorced, especially when you and your ex start to date again, can be a time to rediscover yourself and fall in love with yourself all over again.
Make yourself a priority and rediscover things that make you happy and find new things that entice you. Focusing on yourself, trying new things, taking a break, and seeking professional help are all some ways you can rediscover yourself postdivorce. During the process, you’ll learn new things about yourself and can find yourself enjoying old hobbies and passions that you may have forgotten about.
It’s difficult to learn that your ex-spouse is dating again, especially if you share children with them. Allowing yourself to feel the emotions, reminding yourself why you divorced, moving on yourself, being happy for your ex-spouse, and rediscovering yourself are all great ways you can cope with your ex dating again.
The divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC are dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through the entire legal process keeping your best interests in mind. With over fifty-four years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward. If you need help with your family law matter, please contact us.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, and Platte County, Missouri as well as Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we’re able to meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.