You might hate your ex’s new partner. Lots of people do. S/he might have been the affair partner that you blame for the demise of your marriage. You might think this new person is too young, too old, too smart, or not smart enough.
You might occasionally encounter your ex’s new partner in a public setting. And it doesn’t feel good. It might be an unexpected encounter at the grocery store. Maybe you work at the same place. Or this new person might be in attendance at your child’s events.
The thought of this fills you with dread. And the actual occurrence makes your stomach turn.
You want to run and hide. Or stand up and fight. You feel shock, sadness, anger, or hatred. You believe your space has been violated. You might feel unsafe in the presence of your ex’s new partner.
It sucks, for sure. But unfortunately there’s no escape.
What can you do?
You can reframe the situation immediately. Throw out your story about who this person is and what s/he means to you. Because the situation you’re in is most likely not about you (especially if it’s an event for your child). Here’s what I mean:
Instead of thinking:
“There’s that evil tramp who ruined my marriage.”
Shift your thoughts and tell yourself:
“There’s another person who needs to buy celery.”
“That person has a job to do here, just like I do.”
“That’s just another person in the crowd, cheering for the home team.”
Is it easy? No. Of course not. But does it help? Yeah, it helps a lot.
There’s a lot more to humans than we tend to think about. The same goes for your ex’s new partner, because that person plays many other roles in life: son/daughter, parent, employee, homeowner, student, extreme couponer, pet parent, book lover, gardener, chef, swimmer, runner, Jeep owner, nurse, volunteer, teacher, traveler, etc… Some of those roles you might relate to. Besides the obvious, you might have a lot in common with this person.
And when you choose to recognize your ex’s new partner as just another human in the world, you allow yourself to relax a little. Because when you set that other person free, you set yourself free too. When The Affair Partner becomes more than just The Affair Partner, you become more than just the person who was cheated.
You don’t have to continue looking through the same old lens, telling the same old story. You don’t have to keep yourself in a state of discomfort. When you choose to see your ex’s new partner as more than that, you choose peace.