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One of the hardest moments for anyone who's been through a divorce is when their ex remarries. If you've found out that your ex plans to marry someone else, it can be a painful situation for you and any kids that you had with your ex-spouse.
While some people may be happy when an ex remarries—perhaps if they no longer have to pay alimony—others can experience feelings of loss and even depression. Even if your relationship with your ex hasn't been great since the divorce, finding out that they are getting married to someone else can be an emotional blow. It can feel as though you're being replaced or forgotten.
However, these feelings are completely normal and there are many ways to cope. So, if you have some upsetting feelings about your ex-spouse remarrying, here's how can you handle it and what you can do to make this difficult time a little more manageable.
Prepare to Mourn
You may think that you went through all the mourning you would ever need when the divorce became final—and it certainly is a tough transition to go from married life to being single again—but there is a new level of finality to the relationship when your former spouse remarries. Be prepared to have a rough time, and take the steps needed to mourn the loss of a relationship all over again. Remember that your feelings are warranted and allow yourself time to feel everything you're feeling.
They've Moved On—You Can, Too
Having your ex remarry is the best evidence that they've completely moved on with their life without you. When this happens, it's important to tell yourself that regardless of how you feel now or felt at the time of the divorce, it's time to move on with your life without your ex. Some good visualizations can be helpful here. Try picturing yourself happy and fulfilled, having fun with your kids or with friends, and see yourself without your ex. Do your best to associate some positive feelings with the remarriage rather than just the negative ones.
Get Them Out of Your System
Once you make the decision to move on, it's time to work on changing your thoughts about your ex. Perhaps you've fantasized about reconciling—these feelings are common after a divorce. However, if your ex is getting married to someone new, it's time to refocus on a life without them. If you have kids, try to start seeing your ex simply as the mother or father of your children, not as a friend, partner, or even enemy. Shifting your mindset will help you move forward and move on in a healthy way.
Keep Your Distance
Even if you have maintained a good relationship with your ex after the divorce, it is important to draw some new boundaries around their new relationship. If you're invited to the wedding, it might be a good idea to find a reason not to go. And if you have kids, interact only as necessary. There's no need to linger when picking up or dropping off your kids and keeping your distance will help you avoid many unpleasant situations.
Make Plans for the Wedding Day
Often, the actual wedding day can be a particularly traumatic moment. If you have kids and they are attending, make arrangements to get them there and back without you. Sometimes grandparents are a good option to take care of the kids on one of their parent's wedding day. Even if you don't have kids with your ex, it might be a good idea to make some plans to stay busy on their wedding day.
Go out with some friends, exercise, or meditate. Essentially, do anything that makes you feel your best. Just don't let yourself sit around and get bogged down in your feelings if you can help it.
Listen to the Kids
Kids may have their own feelings about their parent's remarriage. For them, it may also burst a fantasy about their parents getting back together. That's why it's important to listen and pay attention to their feelings. They might also be nervous about having a new stepparent in their lives. So make sure you are there for them and that you are addressing their needs and concerns.
Put Some Distance Between You and Your Former In-Laws
Many people are capable of maintaining a good relationship with their former in-laws, especially if children are involved. Some are even invited to family events. However, after your ex's remarriage, those situations may become much more difficult. So perhaps it's time to set boundaries and take a step back from a continued relationship with your former in-laws if possible.
Respect Your Ex and Their New Spouse
It's important to be respectful of your ex and their new spouse, even more so when kids are a factor. You can inadvertently hurt your children by expressing negative feelings about your ex's remarriage. Unless there are extenuating circumstances that you feel the need to protect your kids from—like drug or alcohol abuse, for instance—try your best to show your ex and their new spouse respect and prioritize allowing your kids to have positive relationships with all of their parents.
Find Someone to Talk To
Finally, don't try to deal with these feelings alone. Find a support group, a good friend, or a counselor to talk with. Verbalizing your negative, jealous, or depressed feelings can help you put them in perspective. As important as a good support system is after a divorce, it is even more important when your former spouse remarries.