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Hi BFSO Readers!

Just wanted to let you know that we’re settling in at our new virtual home! Come on over, take a look around and tell us what you think. Our new address is http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com. I’m hoping that you’ll still be able to reach us via this address, but I’m not certain that you’ll be able to. So, don’t forget to take note of our new address. Oh, and for all of my favorite bloggers who have us listed as one of their favorites, please change our address in your blogroll to http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com! It’s http://www.blendedfamilysoapopera.com – it’s still us, still insightful information, just a different look. We’ll see you there!

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

BFSO is consulting the Advisory Board once again. This time we need to help a reader figure out what she should do. Below is her scenario and my response. We know the best advice comes from those who are living or have lived it. Please respond with open minds and sincere hearts.
Reader’s Question:

I’m a Mom and my ex-husband (in which we’re both remarried) have 50/50 custody. However, we live in different towns and my kids go to school in his hometown.

My problem is that my exes new wife is my children’s primary caregiver. She is currently housesitting for her mother, in which her and my children are staying there, but my ex husband is staying at their house. This is strange to me because my exes wife’s mothers home is in the same town as my exes home. My ex said that he’s getting a lot of work done while they’re gone.

I work from home and want my kids to live with me and go to school in my home town. My ex will not give them up. he says that their home is there and that their school is there. Although I agree that stability in the same school is important, my kids aren’t being taken care of by him. They’re being taken care of by their stepmom. (who is very nice by the way).

Should I take this to court since obviously my ex isn’t the one primarily taking care of them and I have the circumstances and great desire to have them with me?

What’s your thought?

My Response:

Hi Jakki! Thanks so much for stopping by.

I am sorry that you’re in this position. It’s tough when you’re really trying to make decisions based on what’s best for your children. I am sure that your decision to allow your children to remain in your ex’s hometown was based on just that [doing what’s best for them]. However, being cared for, primarily, whenever possible, by both of their biological parents is equally important. My questions to you would be: 1) How many days of the week do you get to see them as you stated that you share custody? 2) How many times a week does your ex actually have them since his wife is caring for them outside of their home? 3) Is there a reason why your children live with your ex in the first place?

All of those questions would definitely influence whether or not I would take my ex to court. But, just from the information you’ve provided above, if my children weren’t being primarily cared for by me or my ex, then something would definitely have to change. While I’m sure that your ex’s wife is a great person (after all, she’s caring for your children), I don’t think it’s fair to you, to her or to your children to have her primarily care for them; especially when neither you, nor your husband share a residence with them.

Here are a couple of options to consider:

1. Take your ex to court for physical custody as it’s almost impossible to have joint physical custody when you both reside in different hometowns. I’m not sure how old your children are, but they will adjust to a new school. If one is a senior in high school, then it might be best to allow him to finish out the year in his current school. Other than that, kids move all of the time, and they adjust.

2. You mentioned that you worked from home, so how possible would it be for you to move to the town where your children reside? This way, they could live with you, stay in their school, but still have unlimited access to their father.

I hope I’ve helped in some way, Jakki. I’ll repost this scenario so that readers will have a chance to respond as well.

Grace and Peace,

*Kela*

 

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

I have an issue that I’d like to reach out to the BFSO Advisory Board (that’s you readers, by the way) for advice on. It’s about my ex and his relationship with our son. Most of you know, by reading the blog, that my ex is an overseas basketball player and has been since I was pregnant with our son. As such, he’s been living out of the country ever since our son was born and he’s now 11. As a result, they pretty much don’t have a meaningful relationship. My ex wants to change that and so do I, but we clash on how to do so. He is only in the states about 8 weeks, maybe a little more on occasion, out of the entire year and has been since I was pregnant. Therefore, my son has never had the opportunity to develop a meaningful bond with him. It took my son a long while before he actually wanted to go over to their house, without being forced.  Over the past few years, however, it has gotten better; especially since his wife and son stay behind while he goes to Spain to play basketball. It has allowed my son to spend more time in his second home, with his second mom and little brother. Now, he loves to spend as much time with them [his second mom and brother] as he can, and I certainly don’t mind. As a matter of fact, my husband and I are both very happy that he asks to go over every weekend, holiday or whenever he has a break from school. It confirms that his second mom really makes him feel at home when he’s there.  I thank God for that…what a relief! The problems occur when my ex returns for his 8 week visit. My son almost instantly withdraws and doesn’t want to go over.  Last summer, he even said, “I’ll just wait until dad leaves before I go over there again.” When I asked him why he said that he just didn’t feel comfortable when his dad was there. He said that he’d like for him (his dad) to get to know him better.

Let me explain…my son is a highly intelligent, straight A student. He started booting up the computer (on his own) and playing educational games at age 18 months, putting together 100 piece puzzles before age 2 and reading, fluently, by age 3. He’s our brainiac who loves anything having to do with science. Some of our conversations are even over my head! Additionally, he’s the sweetest, most kind-hearted, compassionate, wise individual (not kid, but person) that you’d ever meet. Most people (his teachers, friends’ parents, etc) literally compare him to Ghandi. His bio-dad, on the other hand, is a jock. He’s the professional basketball player, who like most (I don’t mean to stereotype, but it’s true) are self-absorbed individuals, who think that world starts and stops around their schedule because they play basketball. Are you starting to see how the two completely clash??

With that said, I can really tell, especially since my ex is getting older and finally growing up, that he desires a more meaningful relationship with our son. But, he wants our son to do so on his terms. He thinks that by forcing him to stay the entire summer (the 8 weeks that he’s here) that their relationship will automatically improve. I told him that forcing him would potentially do more harm than good. By the time my son gets over the shock of being forced to stay in an environment that he’s not comfortable in, it’s time for the ex to skip town again, for a year, and they get to do it all over again the next summer. I explained to him that forcing him to be with him will not do any good until he decides to stay put for more than 8 weeks in the summer. Additionally, being a parent is much more than just having him in the house with you. You have to spend time with him and even do things that he wants to do at times.  And, because you’ve never had an opportunity to bond, alone time is essential as well.  My ex just doesn’t get it at this point. I will say, however, that I can really tell that he’s making a concerted effort to understand where I’m coming from. I’m so happy that although we don’t agree on everything or even always understand each other’s points of view, we both talk about it like adults and then attempt to work out an optimal solution. And, at the end of the day, we both really want what’s best for our son. What a blessing to have finally arrived at this point!

My question for the BFSO Advisory Board is, should I force my son to stay the 8 weeks in the summer, if he doesn’t want to? Legally, I am not obligated to do so because the judge ordered that he give 60 days notice prior to arriving in the states, which he has never done because he said that he just can’t. However, I’m always flexible with the parenting time schedule and allow my son to see his dad and/or second mom as much as he wants. My thoughts are that if dad were doing everything that he was supposed to do, we wouldn’t have to force him. I’ve told him to call regularly, not just from time to time. Use email to communicate with him on a regular basis. I even suggested a webcam for more frequent contact. But, he’s acted on none of my suggestions. Why should I be flexible and bend over backwards to achieve this goal [my son spending more time with him], and why should my son be forced to be uncomfortable, if dad can’t hold up his end of the bargain? Whether it be because he can’t or isn’t willing? What do you readers think?

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

Happy New Year to all of the BFSO readers and your families! Let’s all thank God for carrying us through 2008. I certainly know that I could not have made it without Him!

We wish you happiness, good health, prosperity and peace in the upcoming year. A new year means a fresh start, and I hope that all of you take advantage of this fresh start. It’s a chance to do things differently; whether it be bury hatchets, react differently or simply decide to choose peace in the midst of your current circumstances. Remember, all of our feelings and beliefs are truly based on our internal thoughts and conversations with ourselves. WE ARE IN CONTROL whether we know it or not. If you are feeling overwhelmed about any aspect of your blended family, the first step to changing your attitude is changing that inner conversation. 2009 is your fresh start!

Also in 2009, BFSO promises to bring you more insightful posts, guest bloggers in the areas of relationship coaching, family law, tips on how to teach all of my blended family wives how to keep it spicy (use your imagination) and much more. In 2009, we are focusing on the entire family; from how to keep it spicy in the bedroom, to how to decorate your favorite room. From how to deal with the ex-spouse in your life, to how to maintain peace in what some perceive as an insane existence. We want you to know that your blended families’ problems DO NOT define your families. The operative word in blended family is family, and in 2009 BFSO will show you how to keep the focus on your family!

Lastly,  I want to sincerely thank all of my readers! Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, which just started out as my way to vent my frustrations. I never expected it to be as helpful to others as it has been. Nor, did I ever expect to learn so much from all of you, too!

And so, let’s gear up for a fabulous 2009! No more looking back as the best is yet to come.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

From the Blended Family Soap Opera Family

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

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