You thought your marriage would last forever. It didn't. Even then, you couldn't imagine that your former partner would marry again. Now he has.
Whether it's dealing with children or mutual friends, there may be times when you and the new wife are in the same close quarters. Whether your initial reaction to the new woman is affection, ambivalence, pity or anger, here are some things to consider when thinking about your relationship with the new wife.
You Don't Have to Hate Her
There's no need to scowl or sling bad thoughts at every turn. It's neither an admission of defeat or a sign of weakness to actually like her. Who knows? You may have more in common than you think, and the ability to look at her as another person in your world with whom you might connect certainly shows that you have moved past the baggage of your former marriage and are operating on your own terms.
You Don't Have to Like Her
You don't have to be the archrival or the best friend to the new wife. You do need to decide what you're comfortable with. If, at first, there's a lot of residual anger or jealousy, then it may be better to have an "I'll see you when I have to" relationship where you try to avoid encounters that might make you feel uncomfortable.
If you're fine with casual social interactions with the new wife, then decide you'll keep just the relationship at that level. Of course, there are times when the old and new wives click and friendships do develop. Just make sure those feelings are sincere and you're not just trying to keep your enemy close.
Avoid Getting Involved in Their Relationship
Whether you remain friends with your ex and/or the new partner, try to stay out of their marriage. Regardless of your motives, there's always the possibility that your opinion or advice might seem to have ulterior motives. Also, recognize that every relationship is different and things you learned or thought about your former partner in your own marriage may not be applicable in his new partnership. Part of moving on and establishing your own life and identity is to focus on the goals, challenges and relationships in your current life -- and not linger in your former one.
Don't Get the Children Involved
If there are children of any age in the picture, realize that they're already vulnerable because of the divorce, and try to respect that by being unbiased. Don't plant ideas about your ex and his new wife in their heads and don't use the children to scope out or get information on the situation. Children, especially grown ones, need to have the opportunity to create their own relationships within their growing family. Avoid idle prying or campaigning for the children's affections that might make your offspring feel guilty about developing new relationships.