Everyone has heard of the term, “speak no evil,” but is speaking about your ex spouse to your children really evil? Or, is it just highly inappropriate? This is an issue that comes up in the context of not saying negative things in front of or to your children regarding your ex spouse, and that is a given. It should never be done.
But, I am not talking about negative talk about your ex. I am talking about speaking about your ex spouse to your children, conversationally. And, not just, “So, how is Mom doing?” I am speaking about, “So, is Mom still dating that guy?” or “I still love your Mom, be sure to tell her.”
This has come up recently in my own life. My ex decided to tell our children that I love him more than my husband, and that I was afraid to say it out loud. Not only was it an entire conversation between him and the kids, my daughter tried to prompt him to tell me about it when he dropped them off the other night, and he played dumb. Of course, it all came out as soon as they were in the door.
You can’t expect your children to not tell what happens in each house. They will talk about what they do at your ex’s house and what he or she says. They will tell you what they ate and who they saw. They will also tell your ex the same thing. They will even tell your ex when you fight with your boyfriend, parents, husband or get angry at the dog.
They are kids, and it takes them a long time before they develop a filter to not tell it all. And, in the meantime, you have to just gently remind them that what happens in your house stays in your house and does not need to be told, and that you do not want to hear what happens in your ex’s house either, unless it involves them being physically, mentally or emotionally abused.
But, when your ex is telling the children things that can confuse them, make them anxious, give them false hope or even make them laugh in disbelief, it is inappropriate. Imagine how that type of talk would make your significant other feel to hear that, and imagine how it would be make their significant other feel? Not very good, I would imagine.
I have still not handled this situation with my ex, and frankly, I am at a loss as to how to handle it. First and foremost, I love my husband very much, and although my ex is the father of my children, I am not in love with him anymore. I am thankful that he gave me two beautiful gifts, but that is as far as it goes.
He left me holding the bag in trying to explain to my six year old son why he thinks Mommy loves him more than her husband. It was not an easy conversation, and for most of it, I was so baffled by the mere fact that I was having this conversation to begin with. I ended up with a very lame, “I’m sure he was joking with you.”
Have you ever had this issue, where you ex speaks out of turn? How do handle this type of situation?