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We’ve moved to www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. Find this post and a host of new ones at www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com.

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

We’ve moved to www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. Find this post and a host of new ones at www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com.

It is hard for me to write on controversial subjects using my own blended family situation because my situation is very different from most of our readers.  I get along very very well with my husband’s ex-wife.  She is very good about including me in all decisions that she feels may need input from all of the parents in my step-daughter’s life. But, in reading our blog and listening to other readers describe their feelings and concerns, I feel the need to ask…..Don’t we step-mom’s have a right to have a say in what goes on in our step-children’s lives?  I know we didn’t give birth to our step-children and we may or may not have been in their lives very long, but we are, most of the time, their main caretakers when they are with our family.

Don’t ex-wives want to know that their children are safe and loved during visitation with the non-custodial parent and vice versa if the father has custody?  So shouldn’t all step-parents have a say in what goes on in their lives?  I just think that step-moms sometimes get the brush off more than step-fathers because usually, that step-father is the main father figure in the step-child’s household and the bio mom almost always never second guesses herself and allows him to be included in decision making.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this.  I want to state again, I don’t personally have this issue, but I am always somewhat baffled at some of the responses and comments from bio moms that don’t think their children’s step-mothers deserve any say in anything with their step-children.

Diane

We’ve moved to www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. Find this post and a host of new ones at www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com.

Traveling and chauffeuring back and forth between homes, complicated visitation schedules and combining blended family traditions can make it darn near impossible to focus on the true meaning of Christmas in the blended family. In addition to the ‘traditional’ stresses of the holiday season, blended families have to deal with the stress of ex-spouses, multiple sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and children who have to bounce back and forth like ping pong balls usually during Christmas Eve and Christmas day. In my own family most of our time is spent just figuring out and arguing (with my husband’s ex-wife) about the logistics than it is actually enjoying the holiday with each other.

In an ideal world, Christmas in the blended family would consist of bringing the entire family together, on one accord, just for one day. Ex-spouses, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles would embrace each other and our children would see all of their parents together, not just getting along, but celebrating an important holiday together. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect, but in some blended families the above-mentioned might be an optimal solution.

In my case, holidays are very complicated, to say the least. My son’s bio-dad is often times working, out of the country, and his wife, son and our son are left behind. As a result, I don’t mind including his wife and son in our plans. For example, I called to invite them to spend Thanksgiving with us, this year. She also makes every effort to include me in certain activities as well. She threw a big Halloween party and not only invited my son, but me as well. It works for us because there is no tension between us. There are no unresolved feelings. There is no emotional baggage that spills over into our family. On the other side of my blended family (my husband’s ex-wife, her current husband and stepson), however, this would never work. Whenever we’re all in one room the tension is so oppressive that the kids leave debating how much we hate each other, and this is when we’re all on our best behavior. As such, I realize that each family has to do what works for them, keeping in mind that whatever solution you come up with shouldn’t negatively affect the children.

The holiday season should be the one time of the year when children shouldn’t have to feel as if they have to divide their loyalties, and parents, like any other day of the year, should work especially hard to make their children feel at ease during this time of the year. Additionally, parents should avoid dealing with their own emotional issues concerning the holiday. Children will use how the parents handle the blended family stress of the holiday as an example of how they should handle it. Remember, that holiday traditions are often tied into people’s core identities. If your children do have to divide their time, be sure to communicate with them, in advance, what time and for how long, they will be with each parent. Avoid arguing about it and use basic courtesy and thoughtfulness, especially during this time of year. Each parent should keep in mind that the other parent is also going to want their child with them and their family during this special time. As such, both parties should be flexible to make certain that the child has ample time to spend with both families. Arrange a pick up and drop off time that isn’t too far out of the way for either party so that the majority of the time isn’t spent just traveling back and forth.

Gift Giving

Presents used to produce an enormous amount of tension between my husband and I. Christmas became a competition of which one of our children would receive more or making sure they received the exact same amount of gifts on Christmas day. As you can imagine, even without us directly telling them, this is what Christmas was about for our children as well. We both had good intentions as we didn’t want either child to feel bad because they didn’t get as much as the other. But, we handled it the wrong way, and were beginning to create some very selfish, spoiled kids in the process. After many discussions we realized that something had to change. The true meaning of Christmas, for us, wasn’t about how many presents our children got, and we didn’t want them to think of Christmas in this way either. We decided that we would just communicate with our children. The truth was that since my ex is usually out of the country during Christmas he sends all of his gifts to my house so that our son can open them up. As such, he doesn’t go over there to open up gifts. But, my stepson does go somewhere else to open up his gifts. In actuality, they probably get around the same amount of gifts, but my son opens them up in one locations, and my stepson opens his up in two locations. As a result, my husband would always try to match what my son got from his biological dad. It was way too stressful!! So one day we just sat the kids down and explained the situation, and they both said that they were aware of the situation (meaning they knew that K went somewhere else to open up gifts and M opened the majority of his gifts at our house). It was so silly how we were acting because we thought the kids would feel a certain way, yet they were much more aware of their reality than we gave them credit for.

Many people also question whether or not it’s appropriate to get the ex-spouses gifts. I say, why not? It’s the one time of year that difference should be put aside in order to focus on the true meaning of the holiday – giving. I always remember my ex and his family at Christmas time. And one year, I even bought my husband’s ex-wife a gift. If you’ve read this blog, you know that was a huge step for me. Often times this is an issue for women rather than men. For me, it boils down to an issue of insecurity. Why should it bother me that we get a gift for my husband’s ex-wife or my ex’s son, etc.? Isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about? Having said that, I will have to admit that it is difficult to do when you’re in constant conflict with an ex-spouse, be it yours or your current spouse’s.

All in all, the holidays are about spending time together, enjoying good food, creating memorable traditions for the family, and giving back. Things like competitive gift giving, complicated visitation schedules and arguments with ex-spouses shouldn’t interfere with the meaning behind the holiday. If divorced parents would use a little thoughtfulness and common courtesy and remarried couples would communicate with their children and each other, it could help minimize the stress and maximize the enjoyment of the holiday.

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