There’s nothing comfortable about forming a relationship with your partner’s ex or being the ex and having a relationship with the new girlfriend, especially when kids are involved. Yemi Penn explains how she’s navigated it over the years.
‘Disgusting’ and ‘fluff’ are the words my partner’s ex-wife used to describe me when she first learnt of our relationship. It hurt, and a part of me wanted to retaliate, but I didn’t. Instead, I tried to remember what it was like to be that woman, hurt that the father of my child had moved on.
Being on the receiving end of the insults reminded me of a time 13 years ago when my daughter’s father and I separated. His version of events was that he left because he needed space, my version was that he left us and then there is the real version, that I guess no one will ever know. It created wounds so deep for both of us that we destroyed each other.
When he re-partnered with someone else, it wasn’t easy. Lord knows I had thoughts that if spoken out loud would have created more wounds. If I chose to now retaliate with venom to my current partner’s ex, that would make me a hypocrite.
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After the separation from my daughter’s father, it took me almost a decade to nurse the wounds of separation and then separate from my victim story. Without doing this work I would have continued to villainise my daughter’s father, when in fact we both played a role in the demise of our relationship.
I eventually moved on and had my son with a new partner. I subsequently separated from his father, and I made every effort to ensure the relationship with my son’s dad was much better than the relationship I had with my daughter’s father. When my son’s dad re-partnered, I made the decision to silence my ego and haul my arse to therapy.
I cleaned my trauma and continue to everyday so that I would have a great relationship not just with the father of my child, but the step-mother to my child as she effectively became a vital champion for our son.