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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!

The most interesting thing about ME writing on the subject of first and second wives is that I can write from both perspectives. I am married to someone who has a child with his ex-wife, and I have a child with someone else. Although I wasn’t married to my ex, we were together for nearly 6 years, and lived like husband and wife. My experience being a first “wife” coupled with my conversations with other first wives led me to write this post.

I usually write from the standpoint of being a second wife because that causes the most chaos in my blended family. However, as previously stated, I don’t want to imply that all of my blended family issues are unilateral because they’re not. My ex and I definitely have our share of communication issues as well.

For example, I still can’t believe that after 7 years of being married to other people that this is even an issue, but he still seems to think that all of my concerns regarding our son somehow revolve around him. Fellas, let me clue you in on something, all of our decisions, concerns, questions or anything else regarding our child is not because we want you so don’t flatter yourself. Please know that because we share a child we still have to discuss certain things even though we are not together. This means I can question your whereabouts if you have my child with you. It also means that you do have to call me if you’re going to be late either picking him up or dropping him off. It even means that I might have to occasionally discuss money issues with you as well. I know that it’s difficult to grasp because seemingly we still have to do many things that husbands and wives do, such as the above-mentioned. However, it is necessary when you share a child.

My ex and I actually had to go to court over these types of issues because I couldn’t get him to understand that all of our communication was not about him. My ex is an overseas basketball player who lives out of the country for about 10 months out of every year. And, often times he would just pop up in town one day asking to see his son. He failed to realize that we just don’t sit around waiting on him all year long, and our life actually does continue in his absence. As such, I would often sign him up for summer camp because I didn’t know when he was coming in town (he never arrived at the same time every year), and our son had to go somewhere while my husband and I were at work. Well, he got really upset by the fact that I had signed him up for summer camp during his visitation. So, I told him that he had to let me know when he was coming to town, and he couldn’t let me know 2 days before his arrival. He told me that we were no longer together, and he didn’t have to check in with me anymore. I responded by telling him that it isn’t checking in, it’s called being considerate of other people besides yourself. It turns out that the Judge agreed with me, and ordered him to give 60 days advanced noticed upon his arrival or visitation would be at my discretion.

It seems as if everything I do and say, in my ex’s eyes, is because I’m secretly longing to be back with him. Never mind that fact that I am and have been happily remarried for the last 7 years. I love, and more importantly, respect my husband because his love for both my son and I is unconditional. He has been my biggest fan, supporter and best friend for the last 7 years. We have a wonderful relationship that most of my friends and even some strangers admire. So, why in the world would I want to trade in what I have now for what I use to have? My ex and I parted ways because he was selfish…everything was about him and his career. He was a cheater, and although I never caught him, we spent 10 months out of every year, for 3 years, in different countries, I’m not stupid. Not to mention that he was a horrible father, who never spent any time with our son when he wasn’t playing basketball. Instead he chose to spend time with his boys and anything else that didn’t entail being a father. So again, why would I trade in what I have now for I used to have with him???

My ex never wants to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, it’s easier for him to just blame me for everything. At one point when he returned from overseas my son wanted nothing to do with him. He didn’t want to go over his house let alone have overnight visitation with him. And even to this very day, my son is still not completely comfortable with his biological father. He still doesn’t want to spend the night or have frequent summer visitation with him. Of course, my ex has concluded that it’s because I am influencing my son due to my bitterness of not being able to be with him…yeah right, that makes sense. It has nothing to do with the fact that he has been living overseas for 10 months out of the year ever since my son was in the womb, and therefore they have not spent enough time together to develop a relationship.

As I’ve stated in many of my articles, at some point in the blended family everyone has to let go of their past. Men if you’re still accusing your ex-wives of wanting you, then you have not let go. Contrary to what you may believe, the world does not revolve around you. And, even if your ex does feel that way, you must find a way to always make it about the child that you share together instead of focusing on your old relationship. If you do anything else, you’re doing an injustice to your child. Your child deserves two parents that can communicate and coexist like adults. Whatever happened in the past or whatever feelings you may have had in the past should stay there. It truly doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is raising healthy, happy and well-adjusted children.

All of my posts have mainly been about one side of my dysfunctional blended family, and that’s the side that includes my husband, his ex-wife, and their son.  Because I never want to insinuate that all my blended family issues are unilateral in nature, I feel it’s only fair to discuss the other side of my blended family. Although we don’t have nearly as many problems with my ex as we do with my husband’s, there’s still quite a bit to talk about.

So, now let’s talk about my ex, who is my son’s biological father. The reason I emphasize that he is my son’s biological father is because when I do refer to my son’s father most know that I am referring to the man that has raised him for the past 7 of his 11 years, and that’s my husband.

At any rate, my ex is a professional basketball player (overseas) who has been physically absent from my son’s life since he was in the womb.  We were together for nearly 6 years, including the first few years of my son’s life, but we parted ways when my son was 3 years old. Even though we were technically together for the first few years of our son’s life, my son never saw him as daddy because we lived in separate countries for 10 months out of the year. When I met my current husband is when my son finally started to experience life with a full-time father, and my ex was livid. He didn’t want another man to be involved with his son in a way that he couldn’t be out of fear that he might be replaced, and he surely was. My husband became actively involved in my son’s life. He coached him in basketball, baseball and soccer; attended school plays; had father/son time which is still referred to as bachelor night; and overall, was a prominent male figure in his life. After about 2 years my son started referring to my husband as dad. At that point, my ex’s ego had gotten the best of him and he petitioned the court claiming that I was keeping my son away from him and teaching him to call another man dad. However, he neglected to reveal to the Judge that his only involvement, since birth, in my son’s life was/is 8 weeks out of every year. Furthermore, he also didn’t tell the Judge that he lied to the court about how much money he was making so that he didn’t have to pay a fair amount of child support. Additionally, he had never attended a soccer, basketball, baseball game, school play, teacher’s conference, nor had he ever taken him to the doctor, attended a birthday party or any other normal activity that real parents participate in. So, my attorney and I decided that we would just let him hang himself as we knew the Judge would ask such questions, and she did.

The Judge was appauled by the fact that my ex had wasted all of our time bringing such a matter to court knowing that he was not nor had he ever been a father to my son. She told him that it was bad enough that he could not be physically present in his son’s life, but he had enough nerve to try to cheat him financially, and try to enforce ridiculous rules on my life (meaning, he couldn’t call any other man dad, but him). The Judge bascially laughed after throwing the book at him and calling him a poor excuse for a man.  As a result, my ex is partly financially responsible for my son’s daily care, but he is still physically absent from his life. Although he still struggles with another man raising his son, after 7 years he is learning to accept it. We don’t have nearly as many heated unproductive discussions about it now as we did 7 years ago.

But, now we are entering the next phase of our blended family which I will call unanswered questions. I always told my ex to be careful of the decisions that he made regarding our son because he wasn’t always going to be a baby. I explained to him that when he got older he was going to have questions regarding his absence from his life. Well, at age 11, we have now arrived at that point. My son wants to know why everyone and everything else has always been more important than him. And although he loves his stepmom (who we’ll talk about in another post) and his little half brother, he is very angry with and disappointed in his biological father. So, my husband and I constantly reassure him that he has a mother and a father who adore him and have always been and will always be there for him. I used to try and tell him that his biological father still loves him even though he is not present, but that doesn’t work anymore. Additionally, I don’t feel like I should have to make excuses for his behavior. He needs to be telling him the things that my husband and I do. As such, my husband and I only speak for ourselves and reaffirm our love for him.

So here’s a message to all of you father’s out there: Remember that if the choices you make regarding your child turn out to negatively affect him, it’s nobody’s fault but yours. Don’t blame your ex and tell everyone that she’s keeping the child away from you. Instead, take responsibility for your actions, be consistent in your child’s life and communicate with your ex.

It seems as if my husband and I are always confronting some type of legal issue because his ex-wife frequently throws temper tantrums. They are so frequent that if we don’t hear from her or her attorney for a couple of months, our extended family starts questioning whether or not she’s feeling okay. I swear she makes it her life’s goal to ruin our lives. She does this every time she doesn’t get her way.

Before I start giving you examples of her childish behavior, I should mention that we live in separate states (about 3 hours away from each other).  In the beginning my husband and I would sign both of our children up for extra curricular activities (basketball, baseball, tae kwon do, etc). Well when she found out she started complaining that she was not invited. She said that she is his mother, and should be invited to all of her child’s activities. Keep in mind that her child (we’ll call him K from now on) does the same sort of activities where they live, and she and her husband attend those activities. So, she is not missing out on K’s extra curricular activities. Furthermore, we can’t be in the same room with each other without arguing, mean mugging or just good old fashioned tension, and lots of it. So why would she want to come to the activities that we plan for him? Why – because she wants to be difficult, and that’s the only reason why.  Trust me when I say she is not that in love with her child. She wasn’t concerned about these things before I came along. We attended several activities, without her, prior to her finding out that I was here to stay. However, she threw a temper tantrum, and took us to court demanding that she receive a schedule of all of his activities that we sign him up for. I should also mention that she’s an attorney so it’s easy for her to draw up a legal document, call one of her friends and have the Judge rule in her favor. The justice system is not as just as you think it is, but that’s another story. As a result, we just stopped signing K up for extra curricular activities. She thought she was hurting us, but in the end, as you can see, she only hurt her child. Now he watches my son (we’ll call him M) while he participates.

We are still battling it out in court (about 5 years now) over visitation. She gets one month in the summer and we get 2. We initially we got him in June and July and she got him in August. However, when she realized we were happy with that arrangement, she had to make sure she put a stop to that. I think she sends out a “happy radar” every now and then. If she sees that we are all content in our neck of the woods, she has to stop it. At any rate, she petitioned the court to request that she get July and we get June and August. Her reasoning behind this ridiculous request was that K had to attend summer camp (not summer school). We were confused as to why he couldn’t attend summer camp with us like he had been doing. But, she claims that he needed time with his friends. I could have sworn that he spends time with his friends all year, and time with friends shouldn’t be priority over visitation with your father, but once again, the Judge ruled in her favor. So we don’t see him in July or August, and we only get him in June. Once again, she thinks that she’s hurting us, but she is hurting her child more.

  Before you start assuming that we are being difficult, let me explain. Our state starts school at the beginning of August (7th), and K’s school doesn’t start until the beginning of September (after Labor Day). So, for an entire month there is no where for him to go. M is in school, we’re at work; our mom’s are both teachers so they’re in school; my dad is dead; my husband’s dad lives about 18 hours away; and there are no summer camps. As a result, don’t you think it makes more sense for us to have him in June and July and she get him in August? Because the rest of the kids, where they live, are out of school one would logically assume that there is somewhere for him to go there.

Having said that, we still tried to compromise. She suggested that her grandparents and parents keep him during the day, and we get him at night and on the weekends. I countered that by suggesting that we just get him on the weekends. Our children are now both 11 years old, and the beginning of the school year is difficult for any child. You have to get back into your groove after being away all summer. So, having K return after being gone for a whole month would pose a distraction for M. Keep in mind that they are both the same age, and are only children within their respective households. So, when they get together they want to play because they haven’t seen each other for a whole month. I didn’t want my child’s sleep patterns to suffer due to  the excitement. Furthermore, the fact that we are having to compromise is ridiculous. There’s no need to go through all of this when there’s a better solution – we get him in June and July and she gets him in August.

And so, the battle continues, and honestly, I think K will be out of school by the time this matter is solved.  I hope that those difficult baby mama’s out there will read and learn from this. Your tactics do more harm to your child than they do to your ex. K misses out on extra curricular activities, and has minimal time with his father because his mother can’t deal with her own issues. 

I realize that this situation is tough as I experienced certain feelings when I realized that my ex and I were definitely over. Even though I was with a man that I was completely in love with, you must realize that I shared a strong history with my ex, including our child. I also had to face the fact that I could no longer give my child what every child wants at some point in their lives, and that is for their parents to be together again. When he said he was getting married, that was confirmation for me, and it kind of hurt. However,  as stated in my Wives Wars article, “you must deal with your own issues in a way that doesn’t affect those around you, especially your children.”  I knew that I couldn’t let my feelings affect me doing what’s best for my child, and that was to help him get used to another type of family – the blended family. I wanted him to realize that everyone of his parents (mom, dad, stepmom and stepdad) share a special place in his life, and although things would not be as they were before, they could still be really good, maybe even better.  This means that the adults have to realize their places in the child’s life. You won’t be that full-time father if you’re not in the house full- time.  You have to share those responsibilties with the child’s stepfather. Additionally, as a mother, you can’t be fully thrusted into every aspect of your child’s life because you have to share him with his father and his stepmother. As long as everyone respects each other as parents, and realizes their respective place in the child’s life, the child can and often will adjust.

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