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Learning to set boundaries regarding your co-parent’s dating life

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Co-parenting with someone for whom you likely have a highly conflicted mixture of feelings can be difficult. Newly separated or divorced couples sharing custody of their children typically do best when they focus more on their children and less on what their former partner is doing with their lives.

That means establishing some boundaries. Of course, that’s easier said than done. There are a lot of things that are no longer any of your business – and that goes for both of you. It’s easy to justify making them your business by saying they affect your child – and anything that affects your child is your business.

One crucial boundary that you both need to respect is your ex’s romantic life. Are they dating anyone seriously or more than one person casually? Have they introduced any new romantic partners to your child?

The less you pay attention to your ex’s social and romantic life, the faster you can move on. That means not looking at their social media pages. It also means not trying to get information from your child.

Many co-parents agree that it’s best not to introduce new partners to their children until they know the relationship is serious and this person will be in their life for a while. This is something you may want to include in your parenting plan. Some parents establish a rule that no one is to stay overnight while their child is in the house.

When should you say something about your co-parent’s new romantic interest?

Certainly, if someone is putting your child in any kind of physical or emotional danger, you need to speak up. If it doesn’t change, you may need to take court action. The same is true if your co-parent is neglecting or endangering your child while spending time with their new partner.

If a new significant other is taking on a parenting or disciplinary role that’s not appropriate, you should talk to your co-parent. If this new person is going to be a regular part of your child’s life and potentially spending time alone with them, you have a right to meet them.

If your ex is just enjoying their new single life while your child is with you or maybe slowly introducing a new friend to them, that probably isn’t cause for worry. However, if you have questions or concerns, it may help to get legal guidance.

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