You can only hide your co-parent ex and dishy new boyfriend from each other for so long.
Soon enough, the delusions of perfect co-existence and hassle-free relationships dwindle, and reality strikes.
Eventually, you’ll have to introduce your new boyfriend and ex-partner, and it may not go well, and if the meeting doesn’t go well, you’re in for some uncomfortable complications.
Why is boyfriend jealous of co-parenting relationship? A jealous boyfriend often feels threatened. There are several potential reasons for this. Jealousy of a co-parent could indicate immaturity or insecurities or signs that your boyfriend views your relationship with your ex as inappropriate, or he may simply have a need to control.
Let’s face it, deciding to date after a divorce or serious breakup is a big step. It’s an even bigger step if you’re co-parenting a child with your ex, and your new boyfriend isn’t handling the situation well.
Moving on from a relationship when you have a child with the other person is grueling. It’s an undeniable fact that jealousy can cause both parties discomfort and anxiety.
While challenging, partners of co-parents need to be stable, level-headed, and accepting of the co-parenting relationship.
If you’re looking for insight into the origin of your boyfriend’s jealousy and how to thwart jealousy to get things on track, read on!
Boyfriend Jealous of Co-Parenting Relationship
If your boyfriend bristles every time your phone buzzes with a message from your ex or he paces the room and looks disgruntled when your ex drops off your child after a weekend together, there is an excellent chance that he is dealing with the green-eyed monster.
While it may be difficult to pinpoint the problem directly without speaking to your boyfriend, several explanations could explain the behavior.
Being emotionally immature can lead a man to view a woman as “his.”
Some tell-tale signs that your boyfriend is emotionally immature include not being in control of emotions, blaming others when confronted, and struggling socially.
Sometimes jealousy is a side effect of being controlling. Tell-tale signs that your boyfriend is controlling include trying to isolate you from family, friends, and members of the opposite sex.
You find you’re hiding innocent things from him, he checks your phone messages, he keeps score, he questions your friendships and relationships, and you find yourself always apologizing.
Insecurities can present in the form of jealousy and can stem from childhood trauma or being treated poorly in previous relationships.
Insecurities can present a constant need for reassurance and lead to asking loads of questions, insisting on going to every social event together, pressuring you to call or text back immediately, getting grumpy when you want to see a friend, etc.
Insecurities are an issue that can be solved by being upfront and honest and ensuring boundaries are clearly in place.
Your Co-Parenting Relationship Is Inappropriate
If your partner notices that your ex is not over you and is behaving inappropriately, this could spark jealousy. Take a hard look at how you and your ex communicate.
A good trick is to ask yourself how you would feel if your current boyfriend was engaging with his ex in the same way you’re engaging with yours.
Perhaps adjusting (putting healthy boundaries in place) the way you engage could be a simple solution.
Jealousy is one thing, but it’s quite another when it starts causing complications in your life and relationships. Below are a few complications to consider.
Effects on the Children
Several things could happen if your children pick up on jealousy from your new partner toward their dad.
First, they could start distancing themselves from the new boyfriend or may no longer want to spend time with him. It could also negatively impact their relationship with their dad as they feel confused, guilty, and depressed.
Unnecessary Strain on the New Relationship
New relationships are delicate and require nurturing. Consistent jealousy can lead to a total relationship breakdown, which can mean the relationship cannot be salvaged.
Strain on the Co-Parenting Relationship
It can be exhausting for co-parents to feel awkward about their relationship.
Co-parents need to communicate and collaborate for the sake of their child, and if there’s an element of jealousy, it could cause arguments, anger, and growing resentment.
It’s natural to think that jealousy is a short-term thing in a new relationship and that things will improve. That’s just not always the case.
Sometimes a boyfriend’s jealousy toward your co-parent is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Below are a few tell-tale signs that your new boyfriend is not a healthy addition to your life:
- He bad mouths your ex to your children.
- He constantly tries to tell you what to do and who you can/can’t spend time with.
- You feel drained and on edge instead of happy, relaxed, and excited about the future.
- He refuses to try to have an amicable and respectful interaction with your ex (co-parent).
- You’re arguing and bickering more than you’re relaxed and having fun.
- Unwillingness to compromise.
- Your parenting style and decisions are questioned and criticized.
- You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior at social and family gatherings.
- You can’t be entirely yourself.
- You’re hiding things from your partner to avoid jealous outbursts or negative behavior.
What You Should Do
If you suspect that your boyfriend’s jealousy stems from insecurities and past hurt/trauma, there’s a good chance that open communication and setting boundaries could be a step in the right direction.
Seeing a therapist together could help you to get the insecurities under control and help you reach a healthy level of communication.
If your boyfriend’s jealousy comes from being controlling and manipulative or it’s a simple case of you and your partner being a bad match for each other, you may need to think about breaking up.
Is Jealousy a Sign of Love?
According to an interesting article posted by Psychology Today,
“…to view romantic jealousy as 100% bad—the product of a weak personality and the harbinger of strife—is incorrect. Research has shown that jealousy can be a sign of feeling deeply in love with a partner. It may contribute to relationship satisfaction by signaling emotional commitment and investment. It may contribute to relationship stability by prompting partners to nurture their bond further and actively protect their union.”
Of course, this is not always the case, as jealousy could signify controlling or manipulative behavior.
The only way to know if the jealousy you’re dealing with is a sign of love is to take an overall view of the person you’re dating.
Inappropriate Co-Parenting While in a Relationship
In some instances, it could be a case that you’re interacting inappropriately with your ex, causing your partner’s jealousy. Below are a few examples of inappropriate co-parenting:
- You’ve hooked up with your partner even after the divorce on several occasions, and your new boyfriend is aware of this.
- You spend time alone with your ex, even when the children aren’t involved.
- You confide in your ex about your new relationship issues.
- You or your ex use the children to manipulate each other.
- Inappropriately timed phone calls (late at night, early hours, when drunk, etc.)
- You’re still stalking your ex’s social media pages and consistently bad-mouthing new girlfriends or partners.
- You’re going to your ex’s house to provide favors and carry out chores that aren’t necessary.
What Is Jealousy a Sign Of?
It’s hard to pin down the exact cause of jealousy. For some, it can be short term and directly result from deep love or an emotional connection with someone.
For others, it could be because of past history/trauma, fear of loss/abandonment, insecurities, manipulation, etc.
When To Start Dating After Divorce?
Some people find they are ready to date just two months after the divorce, while others need years to feel ready. The truth is that there’s no exact period to wait.
Logically, one should feel as if they are emotionally prepared, which means being over the hurt and sense of loss that came from the previous relationship.
If there are children involved, you will find it more beneficial to only introduce them to potential partners whom you have a true connection with or see a long-term relationship with.
Dealing with a new boyfriend’s jealousy toward your co-parenting relationship is challenging and requires careful planning and understanding.
Before jumping to conclusions, consider an open conversation with your boyfriend, perhaps even with the help of a counselor or therapist.
Jayme is a professional writer, vegan nutritionist, and relationship & communications counselor. As an avid reader, researcher, and writer, she is constantly expanding her interests and looking into new avenues of mental health awareness and self-care. She lives with her two rescue dachshunds in Hampshire in the United Kingdom.