You’re done, separated, divorced and you think everything is copacetic. You’ve gone your separate ways. The joint custody schedule with the kids is running smoothly. You think you can finally get on with your life and then it happens. Your Ex has a new girlfriend. And now your Ex wants to introduce the new GF to your kids. What do you do?
Just when you think you’ve got your emotions all sorted out and your schedule is filled with therapy, gym workouts, lots of self-care podcasts this thing happens. Your Ex has a girlfriend before you could find a new partner. Life isn’t fair but it’s totally expected.
Well studied and written about, men find new partners after divorce quicker than women. Why?
Women have learned that after divorce, self-care is the most important thing to be doing. Recuperating from the breakup and healing are the main focus. Jumping back into a new relationship for casual sex does happen, but to find a new long term partner just doesn’t make sense unless some inner work is done.
Women know the importance of working on themselves so that they pick a better partner. Whereas men, just need to fill the void of loneliness so they quickly find a new girlfriend. Typically, they aren’t concerned with learning from the breakup.
Of course, this behaviour doesn’t always apply to everyone, but it is a common scenario.
Women have more to lose during the breakup and need more time to recover, whereas according to Psychology Today ,“Men tend to repress their grieving and take a ‘fake it until you make it’ approach…some men become dogs and go for every hookup…but they are terrified of intimacy and run like hell if a woman wants anything more.”
So, don’t beat yourself up that you didn’t find a new partner first. This was bound to happen and there a few things you should know.
What to do now?
You can’t help feeling the abandonment, betrayal and grief all over again. It’s like another heartbreak, kick in the gut. But why do you feel this way, when you promised yourself that you weren’t going to feel this way ever again?
There is only one reason you’re having such a big reaction again.
On some level, you are holding on to the illusion that you might reconcile.
It makes no sense. Especially since your rational mind is reminding you of all the terrible behaviour you had to endure during the relationship. But you still have this thread of hope that they one day would see how wrong their behaviour was and come back and apologize and somehow magically everything would be just the way you dreamed it would be.
Time to wake up!
This isn’t a movie and there isn’t a happy ending unless you make it so. So, let’s refocus your energy and bring in some practices that will help you overcome this hurdle.
Remember these things
Your Ex will continue to make the same mistakes that they have always made. Meaning, that they’ll treat this new girlfriend that same way that they treated you. They haven’t done their work, so it’s a guarantee that on some level all the bad behaviour that you were exposed to will eventually be revealed in this new relationship. Even though at first it might not seem that way.
Remember this new girlfriend is only seeing what your Ex will reveal to them. And at first, they are on their best behaviour.
If you want to feel anything, have compassion for the new girlfriend because she will have to go through what you’ve just gone through.
She isn’t seeing the true version, that you know. Maybe in time she will, but this is for her to find out.
Flashback: I remember having an overwhelming feeling of wanting to warn my Ex’s new, very young (20 years younger) girlfriend of his narcissistic ways. But I didn’t. She was on her journey and there was nothing for me to do.
So, then what do you do when your Ex wants to introduce the new GF to your kids?
Secure your boundaries
Remember, that the only way for you to heal is to first secure your boundaries. If you haven’t cut off communication and blocked them on Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms, you are just wanting to torture yourself. Stop stalking them.
Cut that cord already. Set hard boundaries for communication and protect yourself from more heartache. You must accept that this is over and that you now have to get on with your life.
Do these 5 things
- Setting strong boundaries. This is energetically disconnecting from your Ex and anyone else in the extended family who doesn’t support you. Let them go.
- Set strict communication rules. No texting or phone calls. Use email only if you need to communicate for the sake of the kids. Emailing will create distance and will allow you to take your time to formulate a rational response rather than feeling the need to respond in the heat of the moment when you might say something that you regret.
- Ramp up your grounding practices. Calming your nervous system is key here, so pull out your emotional toolkit and pick a practice to focus on. My favourite is meditation and tree hugging.
- Pamper yourself. Redirect your focus from the pain to something pleasurable. Make yourself feel special. Get a massage, do a new yoga class, go for a bike ride or go for a run. Anything physically active will also help calm your nervous system and elevate your mood and energy level.
- Dump your feelings safely onto the page. Journal every morning and night. When you get those negative thoughts out of your head they no longer linger and then you have space to think rationally and calmly.
The final word
You have the power to feel badly about this or to feel strong in your conviction that you’re worth more. Going back is not an option so stop daydreaming of your Ex. Instead use those thoughts to focus on the new life you’re creating. You know what to do when your Ex wants to introduce the new GF to your kids?
Feel happy that they are getting on with their lives because so are you!