This post could also be called, Everything I learned about What Not To Do, I Learned From Your Ex.
When I refer to “The Ex”, I’m referring to the second wife. My husband and the second wife have one child that they share and he has visitation with. There will probably be very few mentions of this child online because 1. I’m not raising this child and it’s not my right to post things about him online, 2. I don’t want to ask her if I can post things about him online, 3. I wouldn’t risk doing it without asking because she stalks me online and would find out about it.
Now that we got that out of the way, here’s a few things I’ve learned courtesy of the Ex. I’ve compiled a list, you know I love lists, of things you should and shouldn’t do once you are divorced.
1. Do Update Your Facebook.
Once you are divorced, please take the time to update your Facebook page, Twitter, Picasa, and any other place that might house your wedding photos and any other photos of your life together. I would think the reasons for this are obvious but obviously not to everyone. Think about it, you’re out on a date and you tell someone yes you can friend me on Facebook. They go home, look you up and there you are all smiles with your ex in your wedding dress. Not exactly what a prospective suitor wants to see. We know you had another life before us but do you have to broadcast it. It’s kind of embarrassing when your friends start asking, who the woman in the wedding dress standing next to the guy you just introduced as your boyfriend.
2. Do Treat all Significant Others With Respect.
This also should be a no brainer. I think about it this way. You may not like them, they may seem like the devil incarnate to you, but you ex has chosen to be with them for the moment or for a lifetime, you don’t know. It pays to start out on a good footing, you never know which one is going to potentially be your child’s step parent. So don’t randomly pop up when they are out on a date or call with an emergency every Friday night. Don’t call at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning just to see if they stayed over under the guise of checking in on the kids. You know they don’t get up before 9am so why are you calling at 6am to say hi to them? I realize that it can be lonely when your kids are gone but find something to do.
3. Don’t Think You Still Control Your Ex.
For those who don’t know, divorce means a separation or a parting. When you part ways with your spouse, you lose the rights that came with being married to them. That means if something breaks in your house, you have to fix it yourself. Call a handyman, call a plumber but don’t call your ex, even if they are nice enough to come help. They are coming to help out of habit and because their child lives in that house. Don’t read into it more then what it is.
4. Don’t Lie.
Again, another no brainer but I feel like I must put it on the list. A lot of people have a bad habit of stretching or exaggerating the truth to suit their own agenda. This isn’t good because you become the boy who cried wolf. When there is actual an emergency no one is going to believe you. Real life example: When your child is getting a baby tooth pulled but you call up frantic saying that he has to have oral surgery and you need to be there. I’m sure the child will appreciate your presence but really there was no need to leave work for a pulled baby tooth. Instead, a better way to handle the situation would be to simply ask the other parent if they wanted to be there. Simply put, honest communication is essential to the co-parenting relationship.
5. Don’t Stalk Your Ex and Their Significant Other Online.
Need I restate the obvious. Here’s a question, why would you even want to know what’s going with your ex and their new whatever? I know I don’t care about what my ex does, who he’s with or what they do. As long as she treats my kids with respect, I couldn’t care less if they bought a farm, raised pigs and called them all George. If you are planning to stalk your ex and their new spouse online, don’t do it in front of your kids because they will drop the dime on you as soon as they get into the car.
6. Don’t Email The New Spouse.
Unless they email you or contact you in some way, odds are there’s a reason why they haven’t contacted you and they would rather hear from Satan himself first. If you are going to email them keep it short and sweet and to the point. Again, we don’t want to hear about all of our spouse’s shortcomings from you. Mostly because everything you hate about him, I love. Everything you saw as a liability, I see as a strength. I wouldn’t be married to him if I thought otherwise. So let’s keep it to the present shall we.
7. Don’t Subject Your Children To The Spanish Inquisition.
Your child gets x number of days a year to spend with their parent. Don’t subject them to an FBI interrogation when they get home. It’s fine to ask if they had a good time, what they did, how are their step siblings doing and any information they wish to volunteer. What’s not ok? Asking them if their stepmom has gotten fat, do they fight, what do they fight about, has your dad bought anything new etc. You see where I’m going. Questioning like this just makes the kids feel like they are a spies for you. Step parents should extend their step children the same courtesy. Unless they come to you with an issue or they seem off when they get home. Stop the interrogating.
8. Don’t Be Late.
When picking up and dropping off, always be punctual. Some parents are always early to pick up and late to drop off. I know you might be happy to have a weekend of free time but also realize that your ex has a life too and things they have to do and being on time to pick up or drop off your kid is a courtesy that goes a long way. There’s always things that can happen, emergencies that arise but don’t wait until eleven at night to call when you were supposed to pick him up five hours earlier. It shows a lack of respect and courtesy.
9. Do Watch Your Mouth.
We all know that little ears hear everything, so please watch your mouths. Don’t talk about your ex and their significant other in front of or around your child. Let them make up their own mind about the situation. Save the trash talk for your girls nights out, it’s where it belongs. This affects your child, it effects the relationship between your child and their biological parent when you foster ill will toward their step parent. It effects the relationship between your child and their step parent. Think about it this way, If heaven forbid something should happen to you, who do you think is going to raise your child? It will be hard enough on the child to deal with losing a parent and then add to it having to go live with a parent he’s been taught to hate. Not a good situation.
10. Do Remember It’s About The Child
You’re a parent, so I shouldn’t have to tell you this but I am anyway. Everything you do in relation to your ex should be what is good for the child. Is it better for my child to keep in contact with them on a regular basis? Is it better for him/her to see them less or more? Would it be better for my child if I was friendlier with my ex? I could list a 100 questions here but I’m not because you get my drift. It’s about the child and their relationship with their parent that you have to foster. It’s not about you, or how you feel about anything. You got divorced and as a result of that divorce other family members have been added to that child’s family, not yours. They now have a step parent and step siblings/half siblings that would like to come to graduations and birthday parties for your child. Don’t shut them out because of your own issues because you’re not hurting your ex or their new spouse, you’re hurting your own child.