If your life intertwines too much with his old life, you might forget about the plans you two created together.

How to Cope if a Boyfriend With Kids Has a Relationship With His Ex

by Nina Edwards

The relationship your boyfriend has with his kids will last forever, and you should expect nothing less. However, issues may arise with the mother of your boyfriend’s children. Although it’s easy for you to feel threatened by her existence, try to rise above those feelings. There will always be a place for his children and the mother of his children in his heart, and there are ways to cope with this situation.

1. Don’t Be Afraid of Extra Love

It is not uncommon for a person to feel love for his ex, according to Moushumi Ghose in the article entitled, “My Boyfriend is Still in Love with His Ex.” However, for some reason their relationship did not work out and he does not want to be with her anymore. He wants to be with you. This is the most important aspect of your relationship. If he feels love or compassion for his ex, don’t worry about it. It's natural. He loves his kids, and as the mother of those kids, his ex will share a spot in his heart with them.

2. Be Understanding

Your partner’s life is already quite complicated. You don’t want to be the extra tension or stress in his life. If you really care about your boyfriend and want things to work out, understand his situation. If you had children with another man, you would want that man in your children’s lives just as much as your boyfriend wants to be in his kids’ lives. He will have to be in contact with his ex from time to time. Remember, your partner is struggling too. It is not easy to begin a new relationship with kids. In an article published in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage entitled, “Factors That Influence Separated and Divorced Parents' Sharing of Personal Information with Dating Partners," interviews of divorced fathers revealed that they were hesitant to share information with their new partners.

3. Talk it Through

Before you get serious with your boyfriend, chances are he has already told you a lot about his past relationship. Make sure that both of you are on the same page regarding his children and his ex. If there is something that bothers you about his relationship with his ex, talk about it. It may be that he does not even notice that it is bothering you. Discuss alternatives to the way he is currently dealing with issues. You can discuss with him how he can respond if she makes constant demands of him. Decide together that he does not have to answer his ex’s every beckon and call.

4. Take it Easy

It is important that you two have your own lives as well. In a study found in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage entitled, “Marrying a Man with ‘Baggage’: Implications for Second Wives," women who entered into a relationship where the man still had connections with his ex were found to be less happy. It is important that you make your own connections with your boyfriend and his kids. You will feel much more secure about your relationship with your boyfriend if the two of you are leading your own lives independent of his past. Creating new routines with his kids will help you ease out of the shadow of his ex.

About the Author

Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.

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