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Health & Sex

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When Your Mom Sides With Your Ex

Tips for Coping continued...

Set appropriate boundaries. You can’t ask people to stop seeing your ex, but you can tell them you don’t need to know when he or she gets a new job or starts dating someone new.

Don’t take it personally. The truth is, it’s not always about you, Margerum says. Instead of thinking, "If my mom has a relationship with my ex, she doesn’t care about me," think, "They’ve been friends for 20 years."

Erase the idea of "sides." "That implies that there’s a right and a wrong, and that implies that things are simple,” Hartwell-Walker says.

Be understanding. You got the divorce, not them,” Hartwell-Walker says. Assume friends and family members are doing their best to manage a difficult situation. Remember that their relationship with your ex is different from yours. “People can be lousy marital partners and still good parents, decent human beings, and good friends.”

Ask for invites. If you think you’re being excluded because you’re a single amid couples, “you may want to reach out to people and say you’d still love to come even though you don’t have a partner right now,” Margerum says.

Fight to keep key friendships. While it may be fine to let go of some friends, there are some you should try to hold on to. “I wouldn’t let a friendship I value go easily,” Hartwell-Walker says. Make an effort to stay in touch.

Think of the kids. If you have a child with someone, you’re always connected, even after divorce, Margerum says.

Plan ahead for sightings. If your mom or your friend invites your ex to a party you’re going to, ask yourself what you need to do to feel comfortable and enjoy the evening, Hartwell-Walker says. Think ahead about who you want to talk with and where you can go to get a little break. Be civil, and stick with your agenda.

Focus on moving forward. If you’re dwelling on your breakup, Margerum says, “you’re wasting your emotional energy on negative things.”

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Reviewed on December 23, 2013

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