Marriage can be marred by an ex partner in the picture – because of many things. Especially in India, a divorcee is considered to be past his or her prime and damaged goods – not worthy of remarriage. Someone who marries a divorcee also comes under covert as well as obvious judgmental criticism. For the married couple, the problems are manifold, therefore – not only do they have to deal with their family and friends in society, they also have to deal with the nagging issue of the ex-wife/husband.
However annoying this might be, if you are marrying someone who has had a spouse and whose marriage had not worked out, bear in mind that there are a lot of adjustments you have to be willing to make, especially if there are children involved. In the ideal scenario, the past marriage will have been over a long time ago – legally and your spouse has no contact with his/her ex. However, that is often not the case.
If you want your marriage to be amiable, it is necessary that you follow certain ground rules – there is absolutely no space for ego. Remember that your partners life before you did not involve you and though you might feel the all too familiar sparks of jealousy, you must learn to deal with this fact maturely. It is possible that you too had partners or dates – which is a healthy and normal activity. Talk about the ex – voice any fears and insecurities you may have and clear the air. Mark out the dos and donts – you might find it perfectly alright to have a cordial relationship with your ex, given your history, but your partner might object to it.
Respect his/her wishes because it is after all, your life together that should be given importance. However, if the ex’s presence must be tolerated because of children then you have to aim to present a civil and cordial face when needed. All adults involved need to be empathetic and responsive to the children because divorce can be an extremely traumatic experience for them.
In such a case don’t throw tantrums about the parents of the children being around or involved in your family life simply because it is not about you at the moment, it is about the kids and their welfare.
If the ex in question is the trouble maker kind then notify your spouse about it – then take necessary actions. This involves any threats, hateful calls, verbal abuse and any other method of sabotaging your marriage.
Outside of India there are special cells which deal with such behaviour but within the country legal aid might be a tad difficult – given the skewed law process anyway. So it is up to you and your spouse – most of the time, to target the problem. So stay strong and united together in the face of a bitter ex and eventually they will get the message that nothing can rock your marriage. To do this, be open and honest with each other so that no dirty secrets of the past can be raked up to destroy your feelings. If, at all, there are any such details which are uncovered be firm about the fact that past deeds – which did not involve you or your partner together are clearly not of any importance unless it is an unsolved legal or criminal issue.
If there is no reason for the ex to be around then make sure all communication channels are cut – even if the person tries to stay in touch. Avoid calls, politely decline to entertain sudden appearances and make sure that your partner or you know of any chance contacts. It may take days, months or even years, but the message is sure to be conveyed.
Above all, try to be happy. Your partners past – your past – they are not part of the present because of a reason. Everyone makes relationship mistakes – so don’t hold grudges or be part of the holier than thou crowd who believe their mistakes are superior to others and therefore not mistakes. Accept that there was a past and leave it behind. That’s a gift you give to yourself and your spouse and indeed, your marriage.