Co-parenting with someone who hurt you requires that you set aside lingering emotions for the sake of your child. Try to understand what your co-parent wants and keep communication straightforward and strictly about your child. Do not bicker unnecessarily and stick to the custody schedule.
The end of a meaningful relationship is always hard to swallow, especially when you feel you cannot recover from the hurt. Many who’ve experienced co-parenting after a few years, they can attest that it does become easier, so hang on tight.
Let’s cover the kind of interactions you should have with your co-parent, where your priorities lie, and why boundaries are important.
Related Reading: Co-parenting With a Liar [CAN IT WORK?]
Co-Parenting With Someone Who Hurt You
Break-ups and divorces are devastating, especially when kids are in the middle. Here are some tips on making co-parenting a little easier for yourself, your co-parent, and your kid.
If You Have a Child, Make Them the Priority
When divorces or break-ups leave behind resentment and bitterness, it’s crucial to take a step back, clear your head, and realize – it’s not about you – it’s about the children.
Emotions left behind by separation should be put aside because trying to use them to control your co-parenting situation will create misery for everyone, including the child.
Co-parenting from a distance will likely be one of the most challenging things you’ll deal with once you no longer live under the same roof. It becomes especially challenging if your child stays with the parent who cheated, together with the person with whom they cheated.
If a dating parent has someone over, it’s essential to know that your kid will not choose the dating partner over you and replace you as the parent. Kids, even young ones, have a strong bond with parents that will remain irreplaceable.
You may feel very strongly about letting your child anywhere near someone who cheated on you or betrayed you, and you won’t be wrong. However, the law does not play favorites, meaning it must consider the other parent and the child.
In this case, you need to draw a boundary and allow your child access to the other parent. Despite the bad choices parents make, they are still parents, and it would be unfair to the kid to lose one o their parents because of another’s beliefs. This, of course, does not apply in cases of abuse and you should seek advice from a lawyer if you have left your abusive ex, as this will likely affect custody.
Get On the Same Page as the Other Person
It may sound simple, but understanding what the other person wants without pushing your agenda can dramatically soothe your interactions. When both parents decide to show understanding for the sake of their child(ren), it eliminates the bickering, scheming, and guesswork and gives both parents peace of mind.
Do Not Badmouth Your Co-Parent
When scars are still fresh and emotions linger, it can be tempting to project those emotions onto your child and let them know about the wickedness of their mom or dad. While this may seem like a win at first, it will have negative consequences in the long term.
Never speak ill of your co-parent to your child or any third party. Using negative speech in front of a child will teach them to be disrespectful, and it can also cause them to feel insecure when they hear bad things about their parent from someone else.
Children usually consider themselves a combination of both parents, and chipping away at the value of one parent will directly affect the child’s self-worth.
Furthermore, children form an impression of their parents – perhaps one is strict but loving while the other is fun and talkative. Negative speech that cracks these impressions, especially if they aren’t true, will cause the child to lose trust in the parent who made the accusations.
You Will Likely Argue Over Unnecessary & Trivial Things
When a relationship ends because one person cheated, there’s a good chance that emotions will still run high a long while afterward. Consequently, you may feel tempted to bring up minor annoyances and irritations – it may be related to the past or the current day – but make a conscious effort and refrain from bringing up anything unnecessary.
For instance, if the other parent is scheduled to meet you at 15:00 to pick up your child but arrives at 15:15 instead, you may want to hammer them for it. This action is by no means logical and is most certainly an emotional response.
Remember that not having both parents living together is likely already difficult for your child, so it will add to their stress when they witness mom and dad screaming at each other. Furthermore, dishing out negative energy through arguments and insults will bring nothing but misery.
Keep communication straight and to the point without saying anything unnecessary; otherwise, you may complicate things further by stirring a pot of emotions and have it rebound on the kids.
You don’t need to be impolite or harsh with your words – keep the conversation light, say or do what you need to, and carry on with your day.
Set Clear and Firm Boundaries to Protect Yourself
Boundaries are important because they are meant to keep the bad things out and give us the power to decide what we want to allow inside, namely the good things.
A Co-Parenting Schedule Is Not Just a Document
Co-parenting means that both parents will start to have different priorities. Consequently, both parents must stick to the custody schedule. Having one parent bring your child over a day earlier to leave for a long weekend with friends is unacceptable, unless this is something you have discussed and agreed upon ahead of time.
A schedule clears up any confusion and creates strict boundaries of when each parent will get the child(ren) and for how long.
Keep Your Co-Parenting & Personal Lives Separate
The dating life of your co-parent is not your concern and it would be in your best interest to refrain from asking about such things (from your child or ex) or indulging your co-parent if they ask. Instead, focus on keeping the communication straightforward and only about your child.
Avoid making comments about who they are dating or posting comments on their social media. It may come across as jealous, disruptive, and controlling and cause unnecessary problems.
Find Someone to Talk to About Your Frustrations & Emotions
Trying to heal by yourself after experiencing an affair or other betrayal may feel almost impossible. The best thing to do for your future self is to find someone – whether a therapist or a good friend you can trust – who can uplift and encourage you and share the wisdom to help you find your balance.
If you don’t have someone you can turn to, there are local and online support groups with people who have also been on the road you’re on and can walk the journey with you.
Outbursts of emotion can strain new relationships and make them unnecessarily stressful. If you bottle your feelings, you’re not getting rid of them. Instead, bottled emotions will negatively affect your ability to make rational decisions, and they will erupt from within you when you least expect it.
When Dating Someone New, Can You Leave Them With Your Child?
It’s only natural that people will start to date again in the hopes of finding a potential partner. It can be tricky when a kid is involved, but it’s not entirely out of the question.
When dating someone, imagine leaving your child with them to know whether they will be a good match. If you can see yourself marrying someone, it’s usually a great indicator that they will also be an excellent match for your child.
Making your kid the main priority is essential when co-parenting with someone who hurt you, meaning you must put aside your own feelings to make rational decisions. You should speak to someone that can offer you guidance and wisdom and set up boundaries to protect yourself emotionally.