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When Your Ex Gets a New Partner

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 14 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Ex New Partner Children

It can be hard enough to maintain a good relationship with your children if there's just a limited amount of time you can spend with them. It never feels like enough, and you worry that there might be a distance growing between you.

That feeling can worsen if your ex gets a serious, long-term partner. The natural feeling is that the new man in her life might end up closer to your children than you are.

The Feelings

How do you cope with the emotions and fear – because that's exactly what it is – that your children might end up calling another man dad? A lot depends on the bond you have with your children. If it's strong and secure, you really have no need to worry. In their minds you will always be their father, even if someone else sees a lot more of them than you. Of course, it can be hard to remember and hold on to that, and the only thing that can make you feel better is time.

The problem can be if your relationship with your children is tenuous. The trick is not to feel it's a competition between you and your ex's new man. Remember, he needs to get to know the children and form his own relationship with them, which will take time. Ultimately, however much he's around, there's no way he can replace you. Simply be yourself with the kids and try to improve your own relationship with them.

What You Can Do

It's never an easy situation, and even if you're very secure with your children, you're bound to wonder from time to time, especially if the kids take to their mother's new man (and realistically, you should hope that they do, since it truly makes life easier for everyone).

Don't shy away from asking about things they do with him – although, in most cases, children tend to be garrulous, so they'll probably tell you anyway. Try not to show any jealousy, even if it's inside. Your kids don't need to know that there's a turmoil inside your head and heart. Try not to feel to threatened, since, in all likelihood, there's no reason.

Spend as much time as you can with your kids, and take advantage of all the time you're legally allowed. Do things they enjoy, and make sure you take part!

The Problems

If you don't have a good relationship with your ex, things can be a problem. All you can hope is that she doesn't try to turn the kids against you, and tries to put her new man into your place.

In that case, all you can do is be yourself and be loving with your children. Fighting fire with fire and saying bad things about your ex and her new partner is very counter-productive. It simply confuses the children and leaves them feeling very insecure. Enjoy your time with them and simply be you.

For more information, read Introducing A New Partner To Your Children and When Daddy Got A New Girlfriend on this site.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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[Add a Comment]
I have a 5 year old daughter my ex was cheating for months 2 days after I moved out she moved him in around my daughter.she feels push aside I have her every weekend she never wants to go home I can only imaging how horrible it is for her I feel powerless.he has a criminal record for drugs he isn't trustworthy at all but ex can't see what my daughter is going through any help would be greatfull
Kev - 14-Nov-17 @ 6:02 PM
Cress - Your Question:
I have a question about my ex partner. We have a 2.5 year old daughter together. He has had a Girlfriend for about a year on and off. They have split up a number of times and she has caused a lot of problems with me and him. I have agreed for my daughter to stay at her house as they don’t live together. He has my daughter every other weekend and now he is saying that he’s going to work on a day at the weekend so wants his girlfriend to look after my daughter, along with his other daughter and her two kids of her own. I’m not comfortable with this. I’ve accepted the fact she will be involved and allowed her to stay at her house. But I do not want her looking after my daughter when I can just have her back. He is now refusing to have my daughter at all because I haven’t agreed to this. Where do I stand with this? He says he’s taking me to court. I think I’m being reasonable but He doesn’t agree.

Our Response:
In cases where neither of you can agree, then you would have to try to resolve the matter via mediation, please see link here . Your ex would not be able to apply to court unless mediation has been explored first.
SeparatedDads - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:05 PM
I have a question about my ex partner. We have a 2.5 year old daughter together. He has had a Girlfriend for about a year on and off. They have split up a number of times and she has caused a lot of problems with me and him. I have agreed for my daughter to stay at her house as they don’t live together. He has my daughter every other weekend and now he is saying that he’s going to work on a day at the weekend so wants his girlfriend to look after my daughter, along with his other daughter and her two kids of her own. I’m not comfortable with this. I’ve accepted the fact she will be involved and allowed her to stay at her house. But I do not want her looking after my daughter when I can just have her back. He is now refusing to have my daughter at all because I haven’t agreed to this. Where do I stand with this? He says he’s taking me to court. I think I’m being reasonable but He doesn’t agree.
Cress - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:16 PM
Me and my ex split 2 yrs ago...she has a live in b/f of over a year now..we have a 5yr old boy who is my world.i have home 4 days and 3 nights a week and she has him the rest.. neither has custody of our so but she now has a job where some days she works 15hrs... I've found out that she is leaving our son with her bf while she goes to work... am I entitled just to go get our son or will the law (British) protect him and say she is entitled to do this? I know nothing about this man although my son seems to get on with him...
Jase66 - 25-Oct-17 @ 11:22 AM
SS - Your Question:
My ex and me separated 3 years ago and despite some initial difficulties our kids (now 3 & 6) live with for about 40% of the time. In July she met an American online and met him for the first time in September when they got engaged. My kids have never met him but have spoken to him on the phone. I know very little about him and as far as my ex is concerned all I need to know is that he is "awesome, amazing and perfect". From Facebook I have learned he has mental health problems and lives with his parents near Chicago. She wants to take kids there in July 2018 to stay with him. I'm very uncomfortable with this as it will be the first time they have met him - so not a gradual introduction at all. And to top things off they will be getting married then too. I'm uncomfortable that the kids will watch their mother marry a man who they don't really know and who certainly doesn't know my kids. I've expressed my concerns to my ex but she says I'm being unreasonable. Help!

Our Response:
You have no legal rights to prevent your ex from moving on, or stopping your kids from witnessing a marriage. Having 'mental health issues' is neither a crime. Many people have mental health issues of varying degrees - but it doesn't mean they are a bad person in any way or shouldn't be in contact with children. As difficult as it is for you, you cannot prevent your ex from getting on with her life. Your ex needs permission from you (if you have parental responsibility), to take your children out of the country, please see link here . Much depends upon whether you trust that your ex would not place your children in a situation that was harmful to them. You can take an agreeable stance, or you can challenge her decision. If you challenge her decision then you would have to try to resolve the matter via mediation, or if you can still not come to an agreement, through the courts (which is really a last resort). Much also depends upon whether you wish to give consent to your ex taking your children to another country to live and again if you cannot agree, it would be up to the courts to decide what it thinks is in your children's best interests regarding whether you or your ex gets residency. If you can agree things amicably, all the better. If you can't then you really would need to think seriously about the issue. If it goes to court, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 5-Oct-17 @ 12:37 PM
My ex and me separated 3 years ago and despite some initial difficulties our kids (now 3 & 6) live with for about 40% of the time. In July she met an American online and met him for the first time in September when they got engaged. My kids have never met him but have spoken to him on the phone. I know very little about him and as far as my ex is concerned all I need to know is that he is "awesome, amazing and perfect". From Facebook I have learned he has mental health problems and lives with his parents near Chicago. She wants to take kids there in July 2018 to stay with him. I'm very uncomfortable with this as it will be the first time they have met him - so not a gradual introduction at all. And to top things off they will be getting married then too. I'm uncomfortable that the kids will watch their mother marry a man who they don't really know and who certainly doesn't know my kids. I've expressed my concerns to my ex but she says I'm being unreasonable. Help!
SS - 4-Oct-17 @ 9:15 AM
Bigd1982 - Your Question:
Me and my X has been seprated for year but have been sleeping together on and off, She fell pregnant some years back and we ended up having a beautiful little boy who is now 4, I ended up having a relationship which I wasn't happy in so ended this as realized after a while it wasn't right for me and I still love my sons mother, she claims to be still single but im not convinced I have told her how I feel about her and I want to get back together but my family doesn't get on with her and she says it wouldn't work because of this, I have my son every evening after school and at weekends so spend a lot of time together, im so scared that she will or has met someone else I cant stand the thought of her being with someone else and being around my son. I wish there was something I could do to convince her we can make it work and hopefully have a great family.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. It is undoubetdly tricky if you still have feelings for your ex and the mother of your child. Obviously, there is some connection there if you are still sleeping together. However, you also have to respect the fact that she no longer wants a relationship and try to accustom yourself that over time both you and her will/may move on. In the meantime, maintaining a supportive friendship and working together for what is in the best interests of your son is your best option. If your ex does meet another partner, try not to let your emotions get in the way. As long as you have a good and consistent relationship with your ex and your son, then your life will, after time, sort itself out too and any pain will lessen. Remember, you too may go on to meet someone else who you do fall for.
SeparatedDads - 26-Sep-17 @ 11:30 AM
@Bigd1982 it all seems to me like you have made a mistake - we all do at some point in our life and she is punishing you for this, the fact that you are expressing how you feel from a womens point of view is making you look weak, the fact she isn't interested would suggest to me there is someone else or she is in the process of talking with someone else . its good to see such a loving father figure in there child life, it sounds like you have a strong bond with your son....if only my ex husband was like you ha ha. all I can suggest is if she isn't interested don't waste your time with her be there for your son and find someone who can appreciate you and feelings. good luck shazza
Shazza - 25-Sep-17 @ 1:41 PM
Me and my X has been seprated for year but have been sleeping together on and off, She fell pregnant some years back and we ended up having a beautiful little boy who is now 4, I ended up having a relationship which I wasn't happy in so ended this as realized after a while it wasn't right for me and I still love my sons mother, she claims to be still single but im not convinced I have told her how I feel about her and I want to get back together but my family doesn't get on with her and she says it wouldn't work because of this, I have my son every evening after school and at weekends so spend a lot of time together, im so scared that she will or has met someone else I cant stand the thought of her being with someone else and being around my son. I wish there was something I could do to convince her we can make it work and hopefully have a great family.
Bigd1982 - 25-Sep-17 @ 1:19 PM
@Apollo - there are ways of explaining issues. It's not fair if one parent blames the other, that's where problems start and that is unfair on the kids as it's only one side of the story and we know to every story there are two sides. So when both parents blame each other and the kids are stuck in between it is not good for the kids. But, I agree there are levels of explaining that you are having trouble with the situation and perhaps missing them is understandable. But kids will always somehow think it is their fault, so protecting them from this is a good thing. There are lots of self-help books out there that may be useful. Have a look on Amazon, there are shed-loads!
Sam() - 25-Sep-17 @ 11:15 AM
My ex and I separated about a year ago now - before we ended things. She went back to her ex boyfriend who dumped her prior to us meeting 7 years ago and jumped into a relationship with me immediately (I was unaware of this til our desperation talks). Fast forward to today and I'm having trouble dealing with the lost time I previously had with my kids while still processing the situation. While I know it's all for the best, my heart still hurts and I'm still dealing with the degree of change this entails. My problem is this: most of what I'm reading is telling us (ex's) to keep our adult emotional processing to yourself, and I get that - but to a certain extent. I have issue with the idea of censoring kids and being inauthentic in communicating these difficult emotional periods in our lives to our children. I feel like we raise our kids in a bit of a fantasy world, I get they're innocent and all that jazz, but I kind of feel like not sharing our feelings (in a reasonable manner expressing why we're having a bit of trouble with the new situation) creates an unrealistic portrayal of what being human is.I feel this creates an emotional disconnect as we grow, especially for men who historically have issue communicating and processing emotions. I'm not a superhero. The world is not perfect. Why do we feel it necessary to represent a false reality to protect them? Yes, theyre brains are not fully formed, but maybe forming them with a simplified version of the problems we deal with as adults will create more realostic problem solvers for tomorrow. I'd really like to hear from some others about this. I'm having trouble locating good info on this subject. Thanks
Apollo - 24-Sep-17 @ 1:06 PM
SS - Your Question:
My ex wife and me separated 3 years ago. We have 2 kids, now 3&6. Despite some initial problems we now get on okay(ish). I have the kids every other weekend plus 2 or 3 nights every other week. She met an American man online in July and went to visit him 3 weeks ago. The kids stayed with me. She was engaged to him the day after she got there. She wants to move over there with the kids within 2 years but plans to marry him in july 2018.She has told the kids all about the proposed wedding and although this man will not become their new dad he will love them and care for them. How does she know!? My 6 yr old has spoken to this man on the phone. He says that they love each other. She has fed them all kinds of stuff about how perfect he is. I don't like the situation at all. She's known him since July, met him face to face 3 weeks ago and stayed with him for a week and is now telling my kids he's the best thing since sliced bread and how he loves my kids! He has a daughter of his own who he only sees in school holidays. What can I do!?

Our Response:
July 2018, is still a fair time away and anything could happen until then. However, if it comes to a wedding, we can only assume that you trust your ex's judgement is accurate and she has picked a good person who is willing to care for your kids. Trust me, it is a lot worse if the man wasn't promising to take care of your kids. Long distance relationships are quite often difficult to maintain long term, so it is a case of watching the situation carefully. Your ex has to request your consent to move out of the country and you can refuse. However, this means your ex would have to apply to court and the court would make a decision based upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your children regarding whether to let them go. The relationship might yet be a flash in the pan, but for that you would have to wait and see. Until then, you may wish to seek some legal advice in order to explore your options.
SeparatedDads - 21-Sep-17 @ 4:01 PM
My ex wife and me separated 3 years ago. We have 2 kids, now 3&6. Despite some initial problems we now get on okay(ish). I have the kids every other weekend plus 2 or 3 nights every other week. She met an American man online in July and went to visit him 3 weeks ago. The kids stayed with me. She was engaged to him the day after she got there. She wants to move over there with the kids within 2 years but plans to marry him in july 2018. She has told the kids all about the proposed wedding and although this man will not become their new dad he will love them and care for them. How does she know!? My 6 yr old has spoken to this man on the phone. He says that they love each other. She has fed them all kinds of stuff about how perfect he is. I don't like the situation at all. She's known him since July, met him face to face 3 weeks ago and stayed with him for a week and is now telling my kids he's the best thing since sliced bread and how he loves my kids! He has a daughter of his own who he only sees in school holidays. What can i do!?
SS - 21-Sep-17 @ 12:12 PM
Spitzberg - Your Question:
I am seperated from my ex, I am now back in work and about to start paying maintenance, however, my little girl has told me she is now sleeping over at her mum's new boyfriend's house. Does this affect my payments? Currently its 1 day a week I think, but could be more.Also my two children stay over Fri-Sat and 5 hours on a Wednesday, how do you calculate these Wed hours on the child maintence calculator as its only based on days/nights spent.

Our Response:
The fact your children stay over at your ex's boyfriend's house will not affect the amount you pay. Child maintenance payments are based on your children's day-to-day needs, not where they sleep when in the care of the resident parent. The only thing that affects payments is the number of nights your children stay 'overnight' with you. The five hours they come and return home is not counted.
SeparatedDads - 4-Sep-17 @ 11:24 AM
Gaz - Your Question:
Hi can someone give me some advice. Me and my ex fell out about 2 months ago we have a child age 3 which we both share her but she never has her on her days so I end up having her 5 times a week but I don't mind but just found out that when she had her she left are child with her new partner who she meet not to long ago is this right is there anything I can do to stop this happening

Our Response:
Any parent with parental responsibility is deemed responsible for the welfare of their child and making decisions based upon what is in the child's best interests, so there is no rule against your ex asking another person to care for your child. However, if you feel your child's welfare may be at risk from your ex leaving her with someone else, then you should discuss this between you both in order to attempt to resolve the issue.
SeparatedDads - 4-Sep-17 @ 11:14 AM
Hi can someone give me some advice. Me and my ex fell out about 2 months ago we have a child age 3 which we both share her but she never has her on her days so I end up having her 5 times a week but I don't mind but just found out that when she had her she left are child with her new partner who she meet not to long ago is this right is there anything I can do to stop this happening
Gaz - 3-Sep-17 @ 4:06 PM
I am seperated from my ex, I am now back in work and about to start paying maintenance, however, my little girl has told me she is now sleeping over at her mum's new boyfriend's house.Does this affect my payments? Currently its 1 day a week I think, but could be more. Also my twochildren stay over Fri-Sat and 5 hours on a Wednesday, how do you calculate these Wed hours on the child maintence calculator as its only based on days/nights spent.
Spitzberg - 3-Sep-17 @ 12:40 PM
SeanLee93 - Your Question:
Hi all, I'm 24 and I have a 2 year old little boy who turns 3 in SeptemberMe and his mum (23) split up before the birth and have had a kind of okay relationship, getting on very well for the sake of our little lad Recently she's moved away down south 4 hours away and I see him maybe once/ twice every couple of months due to travelling issues, costs etc but I facetime everyday She moved down there with her new partner of 6 months and just yesterday he purposed and she said yes My son doesn't have my surname anyway but I am on the birth certificate and had lots and lots of contact before they moved, always paid and generally did Everything for him.I'm worried of course about the whole him calling this new guy daddy which I'm sure I'll live with but the fact she could change his surname to this new guys which I'm guessing she'll take on as well How would that affect me at all? Or would it not etc ?

Our Response:
Any change or surname would not affect your parental responsibility and the fact you are still your son's father. In some situations, if your ex was to have another child, then for family uniformity your ex may request a name change. If you as the father refuse and your ex decided to take the matter to court, the court would generally allow the change because of family uniformity. However, this would still not detract from your position.
SeparatedDads - 24-Aug-17 @ 2:01 PM
Hi all, I'm 24 and I have a 2 year old little boy who turns 3 in September Me and his mum (23) split up before the birth and have had a kind of okay relationship, getting on very well for the sake of our little lad Recently she's moved away down south 4 hours away and I see him maybe once/ twice every couple of months due to travelling issues, costs etc but I facetime everyday She moved down there with her new partner of 6 months and just yesterday he purposed and she said yes My son doesn't have my surname anyway but I am on the birth certificate and had lots and lots of contact before they moved, always paid and generally did Everything for him. I'm worried of course about the whole him calling this new guy daddy which I'm sure I'll live with but the fact she could change his surname to this new guys which I'm guessing she'll take on as well How would that affect me at all? Or would it not etc ?
SeanLee93 - 22-Aug-17 @ 8:10 PM
Looking for some advise on a problem i hav i was in a abusive relationship with a women an she got pregnant i see my son on a 3 day a week arrangement as we r now split up but now she has a different partner tht has been a soldier before an suffered alot of trauma i get told tht are are always arguing all the time and he sed he would kill her tht is what my 5 year old son told me ive been told tht his mum has let my son out with this guy on his own an my 5 year old told me he dragged him by his arm as i been furious i threated to ring social service yet she shouted abuse at me an said she will gett ppl on me at my front door if i do yet i gotta think of my son an my son told his mum bout this incident an dint believe him an called him a lier so she belive this new bloke over her own son what do i do
kevin - 22-Jul-17 @ 3:45 PM
@TommyB- why don't you ask her directly and find out? It might be that your reaction changes to her too when b/f comes back on the scene.
Paulo - 6-Jul-17 @ 3:39 PM
My ex fiancé and I seperate while she was pregnant and has a new partner now. She talks to me maturely when her and her BF fall out but once they make up she's very nasty towards me. For example most recently, she gave birth to our daughter and we were talking very nicely about how she is etc (they'd broke up at this point) then out of the blue she has decided she doesn'twant me in our daughters life. They're back together when she came out with this. Also her new BF has previously messaged me asking me to send him copies of my ex and my conversations. Is she being controlled? Or is she just favouring him?
TommyB - 5-Jul-17 @ 4:39 PM
Dino - Your Question:
Hi allIm looking for advise, my exs partner is saying horrible things about me to my 7 year old daughter. im quite hot headed person and extremely angry. How do I deal with this the correct way. Ive attempted to talk to my ex and her response is to ignore him. But when your daughter is upset its hard to do

Our Response:
I think your ex is right and you need to ignore the issue. You are your daughter's father and I assume you have a strong bond, therefore whatever your ex's partner may say is unlikely to have more than a passing effect on her. Be the bigger person, do not get angry in front of your daughter or in front of your ex's partner. If you refuse to let his comments get to you, they will soon dissipate as there is nothing to continue to inflame the situation. The more you carry and display your anger, the more this will incite your ex's partner to continue doing what he is doing as he knows he is getting a result. Try the link here and take a different approach. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 23-May-17 @ 2:03 PM
Hi all Im looking for advise, my exs partner is saying horrible things about me to my 7 year old daughter.. im quite hot headed person and extremely angry. How do I deal with this the correct way. Ive attempted to talk to my ex and her response is to ignore him. But when your daughter is upset its hard to do
Dino - 22-May-17 @ 8:04 PM
Ron - Your Question:
My wifes new Boyfriend is a convicted felon during the children's first visit. The boyfriend gets drunk and threatens thier mother, she has him arrested and get a 3 day Protective order followed by a 14 day protective order. I already was very reluctant to have my 2 children around this man to begin with. Can I ban him from being around them during visitation after this (She took him back and thinks everything is fine and sees the incident as no big deal and fine to have him around my daughters 8 and 10 years old). This happened on the very first visit.

Our Response:
If you live in the UK, then you can apply for a Specific Issue Order, please see link here. However, if you live in the US (judging by your use of the word 'felon'), then the law will vary and you would need to seek professional legal advice to see whether you have an equivalent order in place.
SeparatedDads - 9-May-17 @ 10:22 AM
My wifes new Boyfriend is a convicted felon during the children's first visit . The boyfriend gets drunk and threatens thier mother, she has him arrested and get a 3 day Protective order followed by a 14 day protective order. I already was very reluctant to have my 2 children around this man to begin with. Can I ban him from being around them during visitation after this (She took him back and thinks everything is fine and sees the incident as no big deal and fine to have him around my daughters 8 and 10 years old). This happened on the very first visit.
Ron - 8-May-17 @ 9:13 AM
Can i do anything to stop my ex partner who lives with my kids constantlycalling me to them my kids are 6 and 8 and clearly upset by it my youngest crystal a lot when she comes to see me saying he's been saying he doesn't like you again
Loose - 11-Apr-17 @ 8:12 PM
DaddyG - Your Question:
I'm looking for advice on my ex's new partner, I have my child full time and the mother wants her one day a week but I recently got told by the mother her boyfriend does drugs but he swears he is trying to get off them , can I stop her partner from being around my child ?

Our Response:
In the first instance, you should discuss your concerns informally with your ex. You have to try to assess whether your ex would try to put your child into danger. You also have to assess what your real concerns are, i.e do you think he will take drugs around your child? Much also depends upon what type of drugs he takes. Obviously there are soft and hard drugs and there is a bit of difference between someone smoking cannabis on the odd occasion to someone regularly taking heroin or crack cocaine. If you cannot resolve the matter between you and your ex informally, then mediation would be the next port of call, please see link here. Court is always seen as the last resort if you cannot resolve the issue via mediation. You would then be looking at the likes of a Specific Issue Order - please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 24-Mar-17 @ 10:39 AM
I'm looking for advice on my ex's new partner, I have my child full time and the mother wants her one day a week but I recently got told by the mother her boyfriend does drugs but he swears he is trying to get off them , can I stop her partner from being around my child ?
DaddyG - 23-Mar-17 @ 5:37 PM
stresseddad - Your Question:
I guess I have to just leave it be and see what happens it's how much my son behaviour has changed that concerns me the most. He is always developing the traits of a child with a Borderline Personality Mum, I have spoke to mind, but when I have reported they say it's life style choices.Thanks for the help, I have also been through other threads and looked up my rights and have requested for his school to keep me informed with his behaviour and absences and done the same with his Dr. Our Response:Here is the definition of harassment, please see link here. Your ex is entitled to her privacy. Therefore, if your ex refuses to tell you her partner's name and you want a background check doing, then you would have to apply to court via a Specific Issue Order, please see link here. There is no guarantee the court will rule in your favour, it will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility, you have the right to be kept informed of your son's progress and wellbeing, as much as the other parent with PR has.
SeparatedDads - 17-Mar-17 @ 1:42 PM
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