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The topic of insecurities has been directly or indirectly mentioned in several posts and comments, that I felt the need to thoroughly address it. It is no secret that discord in a blended family can stem from insecurities from either the ex or current wife or both. And, as we all know, the blended family functions much better when the ex and current wife are working together and getting along. The questions that still remain, however, are; 1) Why can’t women seem to get along? 2) Why are we so vicious to one another??
It sickens me to believe that long ago, the women before us were able to collaboratively strive for success in the arenas of political activism and social justice. When they told us we couldn’t vote we banned together. We also banned together to demand our respect amongst our male counterparts in corporate America. Yet, when it comes to what should be most important to us, our blended families, we just can’t seem to work together, or just refrain from trying to tear each other completely down.
Jealously is a common factor in competition among women and insecurities grab hold of many of us. We want what she [current wife] has. We want the attention she is getting. We may feel like we deserve it more than she does. We feel the need to fight to prove that we are better. By that same token, women feel the need to fight to hold on to what she has. We throw it in the faces of the other woman [ex-wife] that we have what she couldn’t hold on to.
With that said, fear on the ex-wife’s behalf can also create an enormous amount of tension within the blended family. The confusion and fear usually displays itself in the form of insecurities which sometimes causes the ex-wife to act out. Through my posts about my ex I have been more than honest about feeling hurt once he remarried. It wasn’t because I wanted him back because I had also moved on. It was because for so many years he was all I had known. We spent years together even before we had our son. We had a child together, and we had planned to spend the rest of our lives together. I didn’t plan on having to deal with all of the issues that a blended family faces. I didn’t want my son’s family to be broken.The mere idea of starting over was enough to make me want to run back to a relationship that I knew wasn’t good for either of us. It was scary! And, if we are all honest with ourselves, many of us have had these feelings when it comes to the demise of our relationships with men that we have children with. This is why I often say I can relate to the feelings that an ex-wife feels when she’s finally faced with the fact that she’ll never have her family together again. What I don’t condone, however, is acting on those impulses.
All of my second moms have a few insecurities that they often deal with, too. For some, it’s hard to see their husband have to what they perceive as catering to another woman, his ex-wife. Some can’t even deal with it when he’s friendly towards her and performs simple gestures such as an innocent hug. It symbolizes that he once loved this other woman (who is also the mother of his child(ren) that they will all be forever connected to. Of course we know that our husbands had a past before us, but let’s be honest, it’s much easier to deal with when you aren’t confronted with that past on a regular basis.
I want to acknowledge both the ex and current wife’s insecurities by affirming that they are completely normal. It doesn’t mean that you are an overall insecure woman; you’re just human. Dealing with a failed relationship is like grieving the loss of an entire life that you once knew, but will never have again. That’s hard to deal with. Additionally, feeling like you have to fight to hold on to a family that you love so dearly due to the insecurities and issues of an ex-wife, is also alot to deal with. Once you accept these feelings as normal you won’t feel like you have to defend your position.
So, I encourage both my current and ex-wives to acknowledge their own fears. Why do you feel threatened or upset with the current wife? If you are blaming her for the demise of your marriage, realize in most cases (except for adulturous situations) your marriage was over before she came along. And realistically, you had to have known that your ex-husband wasn’t going to be single forever or even just until you found someone. And for my second wives, why might you feel threatned or upset with the ex-wife? Understand that the prior relationship did not succeed and, therefore, is not a threat to your current relationship. You should rely on your husband (and hold him responsible) to honor and protect your marriage, even where the ex-wife is concerned; instead of focusing on what she might be doing to tear it apart.
“There are many things that we would throw away if we weren’t so afraid that others might pick them up.” ~Oscar Wilde
It is so hard to put into words what I felt when I read J’s entry below because I feel the same way and more. Although, I know that many of you reading this blog might think “Wow, that is too good to be true…..they must be making this up.” But, we’re not. I have often heard from co-workers and even other friends of mine that my relationship with my husband’s ex-wife is odd, peculiar, too close for comfort and even weird. That how could I be best friends with my husband’s ex-wife. Some of you may be thinking the same way. My answer to all of these is this…. Why shouldn’t we? I think other people are the weird, peculiar and odd ones to NOT have a good relationship with their current husband’s ex, especially when there are children involved. I believe that a lot of mothers and step-mothers have insecurity problems and that is the root to a lot of broken marriages and failed friendships. For those of you who try hard to establish good relationships with your husband’s ex’s or current wife with no good return, then that is the other person’s loss, for sure, but keep trying. No good deed goes unnoticed in the eyes of God.
In our case, I couldn’t be more proud of the relationship that J and I have. Before my husband and I married, we all decided to be on one accord – one family. As we often say, “We don’t do steppers in our family.” The most important person between the four of us is our daughter. She is the most caring, loving, kind-hearted little girl that I have ever met, and all of those qualities are a reflection of her mother. She is the exact same way. Our daughter has 2 little sisters by way of her mother’s current marriage. Those girls are my girls too, and I don’t care what people say. If you don’t get anything out of our story, get this….CHILDREN LIVE WHAT THEY LEARN. I believe we are teaching and bringing them up the way God would want us to. We are showing them that just because divorce has been one part of their lives; it doesn’t have to ruin their lives or their relationships with their parents and step-parents. Step-parents don’t have to be the enemy and our daughter doesn’t have to be pulled between us or feel guilty for loving all of us. I know that I am not her mother. I know that I would never ever try to fill those shoes. But, I also know that I am what God wants me to be in her life, and I will be there for her as a standing rock to which she can depend on, no matter what. I will always do what is best for her. I believe if mothers and step-mothers will allow themselves to open up and know these things about one another, they too can have what we have. Of course, there are those few crackpots out there that shouldn’t have children or be around children and those we cannot change, only pray for.
I have three boys. Two of which are over 18 and one who is 9. When I was pregnant with my nine year old, I lost my children’s biological father/my husband in a motorcycle accident. God led me to move away to a new city to start my life anew. I met my current husband when my little boy was 8 months old. We didn’t marry until he was 5. Although my son knows that his biological father lives in Heaven, he has only known my current husband to be daddy. My step-daughter is only 14 months older than my little boy so they are very close. I used to worry in the beginning that she would feel like my son gets her daddy all the time and she doesn’t. My worries were for nothing. She shares her daddy with an open heart and open arms. She is so unselfish. She is the big sister that my little boy needed. She watches out for him just as she does her own little sisters at home. She is a brilliant young lady and God has DIVINELY blessed me by putting her in my life.
I came from a broken home. My parents were selfish at times for whatever reasons, i.e., my dad was young and my mom was bitter. They divorced when I was 6 years old. I will never forget my father seeing us off at the airport in Alaska because my mom was taking us to live with my grandparents in Atlanta, and he was crying while waving goodbye. My dad later married a lady named Carol and she was a horrible step-mother. She emotionally battered me from the time summer started until the day it ended. It may not have seemed that bad to my Dad but, his mind was clouded. To a 10 year old, however, it was more than bad, it was horrific! Needless to say, the last time I saw her was thankfully that summer when I was ten. She only thought about herself and not the children she was affecting. She would say bad things about my mother, she was abusive and she made it clear that my father was her husband and now her childrens’ step-father. We were just visitors and she made sure we knew it. She caused a lot of the kind of drama that I see happening all the time in my adult life with my other friends who are divorced, and some of you readers have experienced the same. THANK THE LORD IN HEAVEN, my dad divorced her but unfortunately, my mom alienated us from my dad after that, and I didn’t see him again until I was in the 8th grade. However, in my mother’s defense, she was doing that with the premise that she was protecting us and always did the best job she could. So, I can relate to a lot of issues that children of divorced parents go through. A shining light, however, is that my dad married a wonderful woman years later, named Dean, and I now have a step-mother that I cherish. She is a strong woman and has taught me a lot about being a step-mother. She is a quiet teacher. She let us come to her on our own terms and didn’t force herself on us. That was a great lesson and one that I implement with my step-daughter. I vowed that if I ever had a step-child, I would NEVER become that kind of person like Carol. I never want my step-daughter to ever feel about me the way I felt about Carol.
You know, I guess my final words would be that I hope our story has inspired some of you moms and step-moms, dads and step-dads to do your best to try to make your children’s lives better instead of more complicated. It’s all about RESPECT. I respect my step-daughter’s mother and her husband. I respect my husband. I respect MYSELF and by all of us having respect for one another, it makes life for all of us less confusing and teaches our children humility. Most importantly, if our children ever become step-parents one day they will have a great example to go by.
I am not saying that our family’s road map doesn’t have bumps and bruises along the way. We aren’t perfect. There are times when we disagree, but work really hard to see each others’ point of view.
I guess I also would say try not to judge so harshly if you are a step-mother or a current wife of a man who has an ex-wife or baby’s mama. Try to put yourself in her shoes and see through her eyes. How would you want your children treated, if you were in the same situation? How would you want to be treated? If you are an ex-wife of a man who is remarried and you two share a child together, don’t automatically think that the new wife has to be the enemy. She will be the one taking care of your children when you aren’t around. How you see her in your eyes means more than you think it does. She can really end up being an ally, a comrade to you. She may even end up being your best friend……Be blessed.