While you’re probably looking forward to your child’s upcoming wedding this summer, you may be dreading having to see and interact with your ex — especially if you’re still going through a “gray divorce” or have just done so. Remember, it’s not just the wedding day, but all of the dinners and activities around the big day.
Even if you don’t have to share a flight halfway around the world with your ex (like George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Ticket to Paradise), this may be more time than you’ve spent with them since your child was a teen. How can you keep things amicable so that your child doesn’t have to worry that their parents will be the source of wedding drama?
Communicate with your ex in advance
If there are some unresolved issues that you fear may flare up at the rehearsal dinner, try to resolve them now. How the cost of the wedding is being split may be a big one. If you don’t already have an agreement in place regarding how the expenses will be divided or reimbursed, it may be a good idea to do that.
Try to agree that you’ll both put aside any issues for the good of your child. If you don’t, you may find yourselves left out of future events, like births, grandchildren’s birthdays and more.
Bring someone who can serve as a buffer
Rather than use your “plus one” to try to make your ex jealous, consider bringing a close friend who can gently guide you away or engage you in conversation if things with your ex are about to become tense. Choose someone who’s neutral (in other words, not your sibling or best friend who hates your ex) and can help you stay calm rather than rile you up further.
A new significant other may not be the best person to do this, and you may not want to put them in an uncomfortable position. Further, if you sense it’s going to anger your ex, let them meet some other time.
Sometimes you just have to be the bigger person. Remember that your ex still knows how to press your buttons. Don’t take the bait. Just remember that this is probably the biggest thing that’s ever happened to your child thus far. One of the best gifts you can give them is to help ensure that their parents don’t ruin it.