A column by the couple and lone counselor Christian Thiel
My husband is often jealous of my ex-husband with whom I have a son. This threatens to ruin our relationship. How can I reassure him?
Mixed families have to endure more tension than other types of families. Especially in the early stages of a relationship, the new partner needs a lot of reassurance. Assurance that he is number one in your life. Certainty that he goes first and that others come later. Both partners need this security, including you. And maybe you get more of it than your husband.
If jealousy occurs in the form described, the new partner usually has good reasons for it. I would advise you to do some introspection at this time. How would you feel in the opposite case? How would it be for you if your partner’s ex-wife and their child often take up so much space? All this is not easy for a new man by your side.
But you can make it easier for him. Do not avoid his jealousy. Take her seriously. The situation is not easy for him. And she does not have to. He may struggle with the new network of an old partnership and a child that came from it, and a new partnership.
It’s important how you talk about your ex-partner and what kind of relationship you have with him. I start with the last one. You should aim for a neutral relationship. Your ex is no longer your confidant with whom you discuss many things. But now you have your new partner. His opinion counts. You should also avoid any comment that compares your current partner to the ex and makes him perform poorly. Such clues as to what the ex could do better (or just did differently) are an important and understandable reason for jealousy.
Let’s get to the last point: What signs of love would make it easier for your husband? Just ask him. It’s not enough for me that he complains to you – he needs to make it clear what needs to change. The situation itself will not change in the next few years. Parents are parents for life. The only thing that can change is how you both handle the situation. The question is: What does your husband need to feel more comfortable in the given circumstances? If you know, then you have the key to the solution.
Christian Thiel is a singles and partnership consultant and author. Do you also have a question for him? Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org