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Advice for getting along with step mum

(7 Posts)
perla80 Fri 24-May-13 12:16:16

Hi

My daughters father and I were together for 8 years. When my daughter was 3 months old I discovered he had been having an affair for 15 months with a married mother of two. My daughter is now 3.5 and the and the woman he had been having the affair with are still together. She is 10 years older than me and has two older children of her own (girl 16, boy 14). When i discovered what had been going on and the extent of the betrayal, i left my daughters father. For the sake of my daugher i've maintained a dignified civil relationship with her father even though i despise him. I have never met my ex's girlfriend and feel now is the time. My daughter is when them every other weekend in the day and is due to start staying over night with them. I feel the need to meet with her because she is a part of my daughters life and although i'd rather she didnt have the privilege of being in my daughters life, she is and there's nothing i can do about that. So for my daughters sake and my own sanity i feel we need to meet and I would also like to go to the house and see where she'll be staying and meet her children who also spend time with my daughter.

I would really appreciate some advice on how to get along with her. I want us to respect each other and have a straight forward relationship. My ex and i dont communicate great with each other so i'm hoping things will be better between me and her.

Has anyone got any advice for meeting each other for the first time and for a long term harmonious relationship?? I don’t want to go over the past, I have since moved on and happily married with another child on the way. I get easily wound up so I need as much tips and advice as possible!

Stepmooster Fri 24-May-13 13:02:58

Hi Perla, I am so glad to hear you've moved on after a difficult relationship split. I think it's great that you want to leave the past behind. It doesn't sound like things are amicable between you and your ex? What is the stumbling block, is there an unresolved issue? Are these issues likely to surface in any face-to-face meet-up? I only ask because relations between my DH and his ex are strained. The ex did want my DH and I to meet with her and her DH about a month after the financial settlement of their divorce, and that certainly wasn't an amicable settlement it took years of arguing, and the ex didn't get what she wanted which has caused even more problems since. For my DH his wounds were still open, he didnt want to sit in a room with the OM who had been threatening towards him in the past. DH was happy to meet with his ex alone, without both partners to discuss DSS, but that wasn't an option for the ex. On top of that I was 8 months pregnant and and not in the mood for travelling a long distance to sit in a potentially hostile environment. Since then things have been said and done by the ex which makes it hard for me to ever want to invite her into my home.

I have seen her in carparks and at rail stations but eye contact is avoided and no conversation is made. For me I have no idea when I will be ready to sit down and meet the 'ex'. I think the longer it's left the worse it becomes. I have no idea when I will be ready, probably when DH is comfortable with it, and when relations have been amicable for a while. Until then I am certianly not in a hurry to sit down and be 'friendly'. I wouldn't stop DH meeting her to discuss his son at any time, but I am not his parent and really I make no decisions for him other than what we're having for dinner when he stays with us.

Don't get upset if she doesn't want to meet you, it's probably just not the right time for her yet. Do you still meet your ex in person to discuss your daughter? Or is everything done by phone/email?

perla80 Fri 24-May-13 13:16:46

Hi Stepmooster
Things are civil between me and my ex for my daughter. We see each other briefly when he picks up and drops off our daughter. We generally communicate through text or email. My ex is civil to my husband and there is to hostility. I'm open and honest and i find him to be calculating and secretive. I feel we dont communicate well because of this - he's always been one for mind games and generally i just dont like him as civil as things are on the surface. He feels the need to try to control everything and i guess that gets my back up. We've only ever had one big row in the last three years as we try to keep the peace and be nice for my daughter so she doesnt pick up on any negativity.

His girlfriend has agreed to meet with me and has invited me and my husband to her house before my daughter starts staying over which is great. I just really need some advice on how to have a respectful relationship with her and would love to hear from people who have been through this. Advice very welcome!
Thanks

ProbablyJustGas Fri 24-May-13 13:31:48

The only thing I can suggest is try to work on communicating better with your DD's dad. I can see how that must be hard work, given what's happened with your split, but it will probably be easier on you, this woman and your DD if you are able to do that. My DH and his ex keep communication about my DSD between the two of them, and manage to keep it amicable. I think because all parenting discussions are kept between the two of them (with maybe some consultation with their OHs for support), neither one feels like the other's partner is trying to take over or replace anybody. They have different opinions about DSD sometimes and about what should be done; if they couldn't communicate about those differences, there'd be a lot more anger and drama on a day-to-day basis. With a lot of families, that anger seems to be misdirected at the SM and also picked up on by the kids.

The other thing I would say is some mothers get very upset if their DC's stepmother is at all involved in the kid's life. E.g., there is a thread in this forum today about some drama because a SM was invited by her DSS to his school play, and Mum didn't like it. Some of us have been slagged off in other MN forums for having the audacity to show up at the school nativity. But when we do these things, we really are not trying to replace Mum or be the DC's "favourite" - even if we were silly enough to try, we could never accomplish that. My DSD doesn't burst into tears in the middle of the night (or in the middle of the street if she really needs to pee) and wail, "I miss PJG". It is always, always, always, "I miss Mummy." If you get at all upset about the SM, just try to remember that you will always be Mama - that will never change, no matter how many nice things SM does or how many school plays she turns up to.

purpleroses Fri 24-May-13 13:47:18

I'd involve your DD if possible - can you get her to show you round her dad's house? To show you where she'll be sleeping? I've always done a fair number of the drop-offs and pick ups with my own DCs at their dad's precisely because I like the chance to call in to my ex's flat (ie their other home) and let them show me the odd thing there. I think it's easier for them to talk to me about that other part of their life if they know I've been there and know the place and people they're talking about. If you get to a situation where you can do that, and maybe sit and wait in the living room for a few minutes some time if she's not quite ready to go when you arrive, etc then exchanging a few words with your ex and his DP should feel quite natural and possibly less strained than sitting down to a meeting all together.

Personally I think I'd be quite anxious about being made to sit down for a formal meeting wtih my DSC's mother - and I wasn't even the OW or anything. If she requested it, I think I'd be looking to her to set the agenda really. What do you want to get out of it? And what issues do you need to avoid to make sure it remains civil? I would keep the focus on your DD - is there anything you need to tell them about her nightime routines? Is there anything your DD is concerned about that you want to raise wtih them? Can you think of anything DD has done with them that she's enjoyed that you could mention to them to show you are friendly and support the relationship?

Will your ex's GF ever be looking after your DD on her own? If so, does she have your contact details for an emergency? You can make polite conversation to her by asking her about her own kids which should give you a chance to get to know her a little.

purpleroses Fri 24-May-13 13:52:30

And also - I think it is possible to have a better relationship with the step-parent than with the ex. My DP has a civil but limited relationship with his ex. Her DP (who was the OM who she left DP for) is a lovely friendly bloke who, despite all the bad history, DP is on pretty friendly terms with. He's always willing to drop the kids over if DP can't pick them up on time, and DP appreciates that.

squeelybean Fri 24-May-13 13:59:48

I'm a bit surprised she has agreed to meet you tbh but its really good that she has. I'm not sure what you are expecting but have they agreed to this as its just a hoop to jump through before overnight access is allowed? If so i would keep expectations low.

I have never met DD1 and 2s stepmum and dont feel she is any of my business, i deal with their Dad but the kids have always got on with her and thats what matters so i'm guessing she's nice. DD3 is on Stepmum number 4 and i havent met any of them either. The first 3 she wasnt keen on but number 4 is apparently lovely!! Not met her either but hopefully it lasts this timehmm

I wonder if i'm not the norm and really dont mean for this post to sound defensive but in her position i would of refused and thought you were controlling or nosey.

I would work out what you want to know and stick to some sort of list of questions that you feel need answering because lets be honest theres a huge gulf between being civil which you can be without meeting and being friends which is very unlikely to happensmile

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