Etiquette, the required type of social behavior, good manners,and an ex, what a combination that can be. There are very few blended families where there is no ex involved. That translates into the fact that at some point in time, you will all be in the same place at the same time and proper etiquette is going to be neccessary.
When a relationship ends and a new one begins we tend to very naively think the ex is out of the picture. Granted in some instances that is often the case, but where there are children there will be an ex. People also naively believe that once the children are grown the ex will no longer be an issue, and this too is a misconception. Ex etiquette should be included in the vows of people that remarry, it is a necessity in blended family life,even when the blended family consists of grown up children.
That very same ex spouse that you automatically despise because your spouse suffered hurt from them, is going to be part of your life, and you are going to have to be polite, and suffer through the grin and bear it stage, make small talk, smile, and just plain get along. It may help make it easier if we keep in mind we don’t have to become best friends with them, but we do need to become friendly to them.Remember it is not unusual for them to feel the very same dislike for you.
At some point there is going to be a school graduation, a wedding, the birth of a baby, an like it or not that means that same ex is going to be as much a part of those joyous occassions as your spouse, and again like it or not rightfully so. Imagine being invovled in a cold war at the wedding of a grown child, simply because of that automatic dislike for someone, whom is really only known to you, through what your spouse has told you. You probably have no idea who this person really is, but you do know that there had to have been at some point love between them and the person you love now. In all fairness to the children that came from that relationship, there has to be a way for the parents and the step to get along in life.
Keeping in mind that the marital relationship is over, but the parenting relationship is a life long attachment between two people, there are some pretty simple guidlelines to successfully getting along with exes. You aren’t best friends, nor do you ever have to be, but you do have a bond. Their children are part yours through marriage and you both care for and love those children. You both have a history with the other parent of those children, but it is not necessary to share it with each other. It simply doesn’t matter who was at fault in the demise of the previous relationship. Develop your own personal list of topics not to be discussed, and stick with it. Keeping the conversations light and courteous will help make things less complicated. Remember also that your opinion is just that, yours and it doesn’t mean the biological parent of your step child must agree with it. Once you’ve given your thoughts drop it. In reality you will see very little of one another, you will not generally be required to spend every holiday together, or have the ex as a house guest. You will be required to allow them to be the mother or the father whichever is the case and to do so civily. The times that you will be thrown together will be due to landmark moments in a childs life, and for the sake of the shared love of a child, grown up or still very young, parents and step-parents can get along.
At the end of whatever the occassion may be, that you were all thrust together, remember that though the will always be the parent of one of the children, they are still the ex.