Stepmoms deal with a lot of stressful situations. No one prepares us. Maybe there should be marriage vows that account for this (“For better or worse, even if the ex-wife threatens to ruin your marriage, takes you to court umpteen times, makes up lies about you, and if you get blamed by the ex and stepkids for stuff you had absolutely nothing to do with…do you still take this man to be your husband?”).
Have you heard about High Conflict Divorce? Parental Alienation? High Conflict Ex-Wives? Ever wonder if you’re dealing with some of that? Here are some examples:
- Your husband’s ex-wife has a melt down because one of your real-life friends won’t accept her friend request on fake-life social media. (Reality check: sometimes people take sides in divorce, and sometimes there’s good reason. Forgiveness is still possible, but we might not all be BFFs).
- The ex-wife “forbids” her children from being social media friends with their dad or you. This might sound silly, but it’s a way of cutting off contact between a parent and child – and that’s not a small thing. (By the way, I thought only royalty had the power to “forbid”?)
- The ex-wife does a little investigation, finds out what you are buying your stepson for his birthday…then buys the same exact thing and scoops you by giving it to him the day before you do. (One more ruined holiday, thanks.)
- The ex-wife keeps the kids up late and takes them to so many fun events on her days, that after the exchange they are too tired to do anything of quality in your house other than nap and do homework (which never seems to get done at her house).
- The ex-wife has threatened your husband (e.g. “if you don’t abide by my rules, I will make sure that no woman ever stays with you”…and what’s funnier is that she left him years ago, so why does she care about any woman in his life?).
- She has confronted you or your husband in public and caused a scene (your front yard, a place of business, in front of the kids’ school, etc).
- She goes ballistic when not invited to your husband’s extended family events. (Maybe she forgot that she is no longer in his family and is no longer the wife?).
- She conveniently forgets to tell you about school events, recitals, sports events all together or until last minute…and you miss out on important things. (And then your husband’s kids think “dad doesn’t care about us, he never shows up”.)
- The ex-wife subtly but consistently convinces the kids to dislike/hate you and their dad. Instead she tells them she is all they need, she is the only real parent, and the only one who really cares about them (oh, nevermind how well you care for them, provide for them, or how kind you and dad are…she twists the truth).
- When you’re on a date with your husband, ex-wife texts 10+ times (and he finally has to shut his phone off).
This is some stressful stuff that can be crazy-making for any stepmom and her husband. Stepmom, don’t let the cray-cray stuff drive you crazy. Set some boundaries. Boundaries can be a great thing. Talk with your husband and set the boundaries that are healthy for your family.
Remember you are strong and can get through this. And maybe someday you can be a support to others because you got through tough times. God has good plans for you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Today I’m thankful for the strength that comes from above.
What are you thankful for?