When you join two families together you are usually aware of everyone you’re going to get. New partner, new kids, new in-laws and new friends. Sometimes though, you forget about that other person that comes: the ex. Now for a lot of people their ex isn’t a problem. The relationship has usually gone past the point where there are a lot of hard feelings, assuming everyone handled the break-up with some grace. If not usually time passing helps. There are some things though that you may want to take into account when dealing with either your ex or your partner’s, when the two families join together.
Don’t leave the ex out of everything.
Now sure you have a new family, but you still have your old family and everything that comes with that. If you had children in your last relationship, your ex is part of that family. While in some instances you may not want to rub the fact that you have a new, happy relationship in their face, it is equally wrong to leave them out of any decision that would affect the children you share. You want them to still be part of the decision making process. If your new partner has problems with this, then the two of you need to have a sit down. There needs to be a level of respect for your ex if for no other reason than it makes the lives of the children easier. At the end of the day that is the number one point for all parents.
Donot rub your new happiness in their face.
While you don’t want to leave them out of the loop, you also don’t want to spend your every waking minute of conversation with them discussing how your new relationship is going. How much detail you include in conversation is up to the level of relationship the two of you still have. It might be a little bit, it might be a lot. Even still there is a line that you probably don’t want to cross. Eventually it just sounds like you hated everything about them and everything that happened with them. That likely isn’t true (even if it feels that way from time to time).
Let your partner lead the way with their ex.
Yes you’re in this together, but you don’t really know the full history of their relationship. You also don’t want to get in between a parent and their kids. Think of how you would feel if they got in the way of your child’s parent relationship, and go from there. Unless there is a safety concern or your partner as asked for some help, let them deal with their own ex while you deal with yours. In the end everyone will be happier.
At the end of the day the most important part of the relationship is to keep all lines of communication open. When dealing with the ex you want to be open and honest, and of course when making plans of action with your partner you need to make sure to talk often. Try your best to think about how you would feel in the situation and you’ll find that everything will likely work out for the best.
I found this article pretty interesting and educational on how to make joint custody work after a separation.