Sometimes, even during the holiday season, relationship drama is anything warm and fuzzy. Are you dreading the togetherness because your man’s family has adopted his ex-wife/girlfriend as an honorary member? You’re not alone. We hear our clients gripe about this very scenario time and time again. Although his family may not see the big deal, we do. And we want you to enjoy yourself no matter what. Here’s how to #win when the ex is still in the picture and carve out your spot in the family.
Get Your Mind Right
Erase all of the negativity and anxiety that you’ve built up in anticipation of these awkward encounters. Start thinking positive thoughts instead. Remember your man chose you and you’re here to stay. Think of the great memories you are creating with him, your friends, and family, not how it can all go wrong.
Know Who You Are
We understand your confidence can take a hit during this time, but remember you are his love now and you must “own” that and check your insecurities at the door. You are the prize; you are enough. It’s important to wear that badge of honor.
Take The High Road
Let’s face it: Bickering and bad attitudes won’t help anyone. It’s important to be the bigger person and show kindness to his ex and the family that still supports here. After all, you are a woman with class and integrity and it’s important for all to see it.
Kill Her With Kindness
Hey, like it or not, they like her for a reason. You could surprise yourself if you open and maybe discover that she’s not the enemy or a threat. You never know, you may even like her too. Spend some time getting to know her. Maybe grab some hot chocolate and have a candid conversation in a quiet corner. Before you know it, it may not even bother you to know that she’s in the same room after all.
Look and Feel Fly
Everything is better when you’re looking and feeling your best. This may be the right time for you to buy a new holiday outfit and try a new fly haircut. The better you look, the more confident you feel, and the more miniscule her presence becomes. Ex who?
Make Your Presence Known
We are not saying go over the top with this one, but just make sure you are not leaving anyone questioning on how secure your relationship really is because you’re keeping such a low key profile. Perhaps, you can snuggle on the couch with him after dinner, make him a drink or caress his back from time-to-time. This is not for her, but more for you to focus on your own relationship and not worry about where she is or what she’s doing the entire time.
Foster The Relationship with His Family Throughout the Year
Remember this is a marathon not a sprint. It’s important for you to foster and spend time directly with his family outside of just the holidays so they can get to know you best. Try calling once a week to check in and say hello. You may want to suggest quarterly Sunday dinners with just your family to deepen the bond.
If All Else Fails, Have the Talk
If his ex isn’t so kind and is being disrespectful to you, it’s ok to have a conversation with your man and his family to share how her presence makes you feel. Have the solution in mind and be clear on what you would like to see happen. For example, should she be completely uninvited next time? Do you want him to focus on respecting boundaries or do you want him to give her a call and have a united front? Remember there is a possibility he may say “this is your issue” because of the children or perhaps the host wanting her there, so think about what your response will be and determine beforehand if this convo is worth it or not.
The overall goal here is for you to be comfortable and enjoy your holiday season with or without his ex in the picture. Another woman’s presence shouldn’t affect your happiness and ruin the time you have to spend with the ones you love (or the ones he does). These are your memories that you are creating with your guy, so please don’t forget that you are the prize. We’re always rooting for you. Here’s to LOVE!
Read more great dating and relationship advice from professional matchmakers The Matchmaking DUO, here.