There she is, all smiles, happy and glowing. Her hair is perfect. You know she spent at least an hour on it. Her nails are flawless, even her toenails aren't chipping. Your ex-husband's new girlfriend has prepped to the hilt. She's still in that phase of her relationship when she's got to look perfect for every date with him.
The biggest thing: She's got that look on her face. You know the one. It's the look of being completely in love, and the reason you know it so well is that you once had this look. And now, your ex's new girlfriend has it! She gazes at him when he speaks. He can say nothing that isn't brilliant. She giggles every time he makes a joke, even if it isn't funny. And the worst one, he looks at her the exact same way.
It doesn't matter if your ex dumped you, or you were the one who broke up with them. In either scenario, meeting the new girlfriend isn't easy. I know because I experienced it.
So, here are some do's and don'ts that I can share that might make things easier when you come face to face with your old guy's new gal.
1. Don't be rude! On the contrary, be really, really nice. Here's why: First of all, if you have kids, it will make them so happy that everyone is getting along, that you will feel like being friendly is completely worth it just for that reason. Secondly, it will not only make everyone have respect for you, but you will have respect for yourself. You'll feel great, trust me! Walk right up to her and shake her hand. Even if it's difficult, do it! You can never lose by taking the high road and being nice.
2. Do remember that even if she wasn't in the picture, you and your guy would not be together, so there's no reason to be bitter or jealous. And, if he broke up with you for her, just keep telling yourself that there is an amazing guy waiting for you and at some point, you will meet him. Be patient and trust it.
3. Don't be overly nice and or fake to the point of being obnoxious. Be really sweet, but keep your distance a little bit. Everyone knows you're not going to be best friends with her.
4. Do remember that she is now the proud new owner of a relationship with his mother! Tell yourself how much fun she's going to have dealing with that!
5. Don't compare yourself with her physically. She might be really pretty and that's okay. Did you expect your ex to date a dog? Try to focus on the physical things you like about yourself. Have you been eating healthy? Are you working out? Do you like your new haircut? How about that lipstick everyone is telling you looks so great on you? Just like yourself. It's okay if the girl is cute. You're not competing with her.
6. Do try to be happy for your ex. Obviously, the two of you don't get along (or you'd still be together). But, try to remember the good in him and what you used to love about him, and realize that those are the things she probably loves about him. He also might be nicer to you and easier to deal with in co-parenting issues if he is happy. So, in effect, she is good for you!
7. Do remember that the things about him that bugged the crap out of you They will surely start to bug her if they don't already. He isn't going to be a different person with her. He's going to be him. Whether she can take it for the long haul remains to be seen. You couldn't, but maybe she can. But, it doesn't matter. Focus on yourself, your own life, and your own love life.
And one more thing -- it helps when your friends are there and they tell you that you are a lot cuter than her, even if they're just saying it to be nice.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of the comedic novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE about dating after divorce. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter for the Pioneer Press, with the monthly column, "Heart of the North Shore." She lives in Chicago with her two kids. And she's divorced (obviously).