Let's not kid ourselves, if were going to become friends with the baby mama, then hold on to your booty because it's going to be a wild ride. If you can get over these hurdles trust me it will be worth it. I consider my husband ex a very dear friend of mine now!
Rule #1 Don't get involved *at first* when you are the new person! Firstly, you will not be taken seriously if you jump into the situation and speak to the biological mother or father of the children as if you fully know the situation. At this point, you most likely only know one side which is your new partners side. Now, you might have a dark clouded vision of the other biological parent because it's unlikely your new partner is speaking love and daisies about their ex. No, of course not, they are speaking ugliness or letting you know what a hot mess his or her ex is! Are they wrong, maybe. Are they right, maybe too. So if you are not to get involved then what should you do? Communicate to your new partner that you support them but you wish to stay out of the situation for now until you can get a grasp on everything first hand. By staying out or biting your tongue you are posing less of a threat to the ex . I understand this may be easier said than done but if you can stay out of it then that is best.
Rule #2 As hard as this rule is going to be, you need to let your ego down and not be pulled in the biased direction of the stories you may have heard. If you know anyone who has done you wrong, you can become an expert at convincing someone else what an awful person they are. Same goes for your situation, you are only being filled with one sided stories of their relationship and chances are there is a lot animosity that is in the air. The best thing to do is to express to your spouse that you were not there for their relationship so you did not see any of this first hand and you wish to make your personal judgments based off the current situation and how the ex handles themselves toward you in the present moment. Does that sound insane, yes, but it also works. So lets take an over view, step one stay out of the line of fire and communicate with your spouse you'd like to learn about the ex and make judgments based on what you see. I am speaking first hand because this is exactly how I went about this as the new step parent.
Rule #3 Never under any circumstances speak badly about the ex to the child. Sadly this happens very often but chances are the ex/baby mama will try to pry information out of the child to see what is happening at the other parents house. The child is the main third party source in order to get and receive information so be a good role model and make sure if the child tells stories they are good, happy positive ones.
Rule #4 Meet the ex/baby mama! This can be very intimidating at first, especially if the situation seems fairly ugly but trust me it will be better in the long run. Let's say you have successfully completed rule #1 and #2 and it has been at least two months, then speak with your spouse and let them know you would like to reach out to the ex/baby mama and meet each other officially. Now, you may have "unofficially" met them from the children exchange but to sit down, shake hands and meet is different.
***** The best way to approach this with your spouse is to let them know you might be able to help the situation if you can meet and be a new branch source of information. **** Just to put this in perspective my husbands ex and myself are extremely great friends and once I met her and got to know her it was easier for the two of us to communicate because the animosity was much fewer and far between than her and my husband.
****** The best way to approach the ex/baby mama if this is going to be via text message then I would say something along the lines of- " Hey, Sally this is Sam, I know we have not officially met and it has been a couple months but I would like to get to know you and meet you. I respect the fact that you are Billy's mother and it might be important for you to know who is hanging around your son. I understand the situation might be hard on everyone right now but I think if we meet we might be able to have a fresh start." *******
Some may interpret this as ass kissing but really you are letting your ego down and saying, look you are the mother and I respect that and I wish to get to know you. By stating it the way the sample shows you are letting them know you are not a threat to them and they are most likely to respond better than you could have imagined. But what happens if they are mean and do not take to this message? Well.....
Rule #5 Stay persistent! Again you do not need to ass kiss but you need to show some level of respect towards the ex because the son or daughter loves them and is always going to root for their team so you might as well stay persistent in the way you handle yourself. Say "Hello," when they come around or ask "how they are doing." Small talk can lead to trust, which can lead to a better relationship, which can lead to a happier child!
Rule #6 Give time to let the relationship grow organically between you and the ex/baby mama! Don't expect you two to become over the moon amazing in two days. Just keep up the small talks and always acknowledge them when you see them and eventually the relationship will grow more.
Rule #7 Invite them to do something with the child. When my husbands ex and myself first hung out it was a bit intimidating but we went to the zoo because the kids loved the zoo. I believe it had been about one year and we had finally built up a little bit of a friendship-ish with the small talks and texting about schedules so I made the plunge and asked. She said yes and we actually had an amazing time together. It was just her and myself and the kids. While walking around the zoo we told stories and got to know each other and it just snowballed into what it is today (seven years later) So just take the leap and try it out!
Rule #8 Disclaimer- I should have put this rule closer to the top but the rules no matter what are all important. Do not get into a texting war. I know sometimes you want to support your new spouse and stand up for them when the ex is being a bit harsh, but you have to resist. This does not mean you do not support them but it sort of goes back to Rule #1 about staying out of the situation. I'm sure most of you just want to send a message to the "B" to give her a taste of your thoughts but you have to think about the child. Ask yourself this question. 'If I send a hateful message will this prolong arguments in the future that will hurt Billy?' If the answer is yes, which is most likely is, than please refrain from doing so. Situations and heated battles will pass but the more you put focus on the fire the more you become the fuel. If you find yourself receiving an ugly message from the ex- do not respond. I know our ego's put this idea in our head that if we do not respond that means we are weak, but really this shows strength. Strength that you don't give a damn what they have to rant about and by giving the text silent treatment the ball stays in your court by letting them know essentially that what they say does not affect you in any sort of way. Just think about when you text someone and it drives you crazy wondering why they didn't respond. Sounds petty but really you do not want to get in a texting feud, just be the bigger person and do not add to the drama others wish to create around you. I think I will leave it at this FOR NOW to let these rules soak in but trust me this is JUST the surface of it all!
Co-Parenting in Harmony: The Art of Putting Your Child's Soul First, 2nd Edition
Leave a comment below if you guys wish to get MORE helpful rules on how to become friends with the EX. I feel I can go on for days and days but this article was already getting fairly long so let me know in the comments.
Also- post about your story on the "share my story" section!