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Anyone got any good stories of blended families

(15 Posts)
Livvylongpants Tue 18-Mar-14 14:42:20

I hear so many stories of horrible ex's and difficult step kids, so thought maybe we could have a thread to share the good stuff

DPs ex is lovely, they split amicably and noone was at fault, they just wernt in 'love love' of that makes sense (which may have something to do with the peaceful relationship now?)

They split about 10/11 years ago and have a son who's 13

Contact has always been flexible depending and who has what plans (DSS lives with us currently) never had to do CSA, one parent usually has/had Monday-Friday and the other Friday-Monday. The person that had weekends normally buys More clothes,school stuff etc to balance it out.

Ex has a great relationship with our kids, we are going to Thorpe park on Saturday and taking DSS, she's offered to have 6 month old DS to make the day easier.

We split cost of trips and whoever is free does pick ups and drop offs and its just generally a nice relationship we all have.

I tend to do the more hands on dinner/homework/getting to school for DSS as I'm currently on maternity leave, I don't mind as he's just another member of my family, ex normally consults me over anything and I will relay to DP as he has a rubbish memory, I also do a lot of the school and SENCO stuff as DSS has minor SEN

Just wondered if we really are in the minority

Russianfudge Tue 18-Mar-14 15:01:26

I think you are, sadly. Your situation sounds like a great thing for all concerned so it's nice to hear regardless

Livvylongpants Tue 18-Mar-14 15:11:47

Seems that way, which makes me sad, but then again so many relationships end bitterly its hard to remain civil.
And my DP has been a dick between when they split and when we met a d she's always supported him.

Suppose it makes me feel safe that if it ever didn't work out between us, he'd do his best to keep it amicable for out childreb

eslteacher Tue 18-Mar-14 17:02:47

We also have a similar situation to you. DP and his ex split amicably when their DS was 1, and remained friends. 8 years later, DP is with me and she has another child with her new partner, as well as being a stepmum to his existing child.

We all get along great, regularly do social stuff together, we look after their DD sometimes when we have DSS, to help them out. Contact is scheduled but very flexible. We're going to their wedding later this year!

Doesnt mean I have found being a SM easy, but I appreciate how hugely lucky I am with my overall situation.

Livvylongpants Tue 18-Mar-14 19:32:45

I too found step parenting difficult. I met DP at 17 and DSS was 6. (DP is 14 years older than me). It wasn't until I had my own daughter 4 years later that it fell Into place for me.

Should we ever get married (been engaged since before I fell pregnant with DD) her and her partner will most certainly be invited

Flexiblefriend Tue 18-Mar-14 19:40:44

I am a SM to two. There have been tricky times in the past, DH and his ex had a difficult relationship and there were issues with access. His ex has since apologised, and admitted when she was having a hard time she wanted to make him suffer too.

Over the last few years, things have been amicable. DSS and DSD are lovely, and there has never been an issue with them. As they are now approaching adulthood we see them as and when they want to come, and there are no issues, and no stress. They both get on really well with DD. I read threads on here often, and I feel very lucky.

cappy123 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:42:59

My sit is similar to yours livvy DH and ex had a short rship and remained friends when they realized she was pregnant 14 years ago. DH has been RP since about 1 year old. It makes a huge difference when parents get on doesn't it? Like you no CSA, school costs / clothes are sorted out etc. DSD's mum has been always been around in some way (and apparently has stepped up responsibility much more now I'm here).

We're not best buddies, but I'd like to get to know DSD's mum better - we invited her to the wedding etc. I respect and value her even if I disagree on some things. She has contributed positively to DSD's upbringing and I remind DH of the good job she and he do, especially as she can be a little lacking in confidence. It's not always been straightforward though. E.g. DH did marry briefly when DSD was 2-3 yo. If he'd have married and divorced DSD's mum that would have been different. Also we have the usual challenges of any other family, esp stepfamily - so it's very real - not rose tinted.

I'm not convinced about being in the minority. Partly because people are more likely to write when things are difficult for them. And partly because stepfamilies come in so many different and complex forms, but that doesn't mean they're not working. But the discomfort and adjustments can make it seem like they're not working. I started a thread a week or so ago to encourage positive stories see

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/stepparenting/2017924-More-good-than-bad-your-positive-tips-stories

(Surprisingly?) I got the idea from a men-to-men marriage support site I was peeking at. Despite their clear challenges in other threads, their 'positive stories' thread had the most views - I mean hundreds more than the others! I was intrigued. It was obvious after reading some posts that just posting positives had a snowball effect. They were encouraging to each other to the point of almost trying to out-do each other with tips, lessons, ideas, gratitudes, stories....

Also I saw this amazing successful co-parenting video today, by the author of a book and blog co-written with her ex-husband. She is a remarried with birth, adopted and step children! Might get the book for more insight because it seems an eye-opener for people in this situation, or for supporting loved ones who are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB32N-3EjRs

Big hug to all, whatever stage you're at!

cappy123 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:50:27

their 'positive stories' thread had the most views - I meant 'posts', but probably more views as a result

Livvylongpants Wed 19-Mar-14 05:40:35

In wondering whether there is a theme R.E the amicable split.

DP was with ex for 7 years, it wasn't all rosy afterwards. He met someone very quickly after they split who was, in short, I bit of a psycho. Accused him of cheating if he went to pick up his son, was obsessed with having a baby as wanted the same 'bond' him and ex had. When the baby was born she didn't want DP anymore and disappeared and severed all contact with the baby. She was a social worker too :O

I agree more people share the bad stuff as they understandably want to talk about it, which is why I started this thread to get some positive stories out there smile

It came after a friend of mine met a guy who she really liked, I asked her where she was going to go from here, she said 'nowhere, he's got 2 kids, I can't be dealing with crazy ex's and bratty step kids'
And that seems to be a regular view of meeting someone with kids

Xalla Wed 19-Mar-14 08:58:40

There is definitely a theme re. the amicable split!!

And for what it's worth, I often wish I'd had your friend's attitude when I met my DH. Not always, but often..

UC Wed 19-Mar-14 10:29:40

Not so convinced about the amicable split theme. I think it's more about how the parties deal with the split as the years go by. In my case, the split was not amicable by any means, as exH left very suddenly (bolt from the blue kind of scenario) for an OW, but I recognised that my anger with exH was nothing to do with the children, and they need to have a good relationship with him, and his now DW. Deciding this, letting go of trying to control what he did with them on his time, and always maintaining dignity in front of exH all helped me to recover, along with the realisation that it was only damaging to me (and potentially the DCs) to keep and feed that anger and bitterness. I had counselling and support to deal with my anger, and I can honestly say I don't feel it at all any more, and am now happily in another relationship with DP.

As for DP and me, we have 4 DCs between us, who call eachother siblings. We are celebrating the number of years we have all lived together with a special tea tonight.

Exh and I have times when we disagree about decisions in relation to the children, but we are usually able to come to some sort of compromise. We are also fairly flexible in relation to access, holidays, christmas, birthdays etc.

Livvylongpants Wed 19-Mar-14 12:40:50

I hope of me and DP ever split we can be as amicable.

My parents split when I was a teenager, my mum slated my dad constantly, whereas my father (who was the wronged party in the whole thing) never said anything but good things Infront of us about my mum.

I know who I respected more for it

cappy123 Wed 19-Mar-14 13:46:28

Those last 2 posts say it all. I was briefly engaged to a divorced man who had 2 kids with 2 different women and not a good word to say about either of them. I wasn't confident that I would have his respect as a potential wife and mother plus his temper was explosive. Red flags.

Before my now DH and I got married like UC I also had counselling and support and had to deal with all sorts: grief, expectations, motivations, attitude, acceptance issues. Quite apart from loads of research on step families, some of which I shared with DH. Plus we did 2 different marriage prep courses.

I always tell people to very seriously think about whether to get involved with someone if either of them have kids. You need to have a strong feeling sense of self and own issues, thick skin, lots of love to give, compassion / respect for the position of all family members, and a critical ability for self care.

My 2 penn'orth

balia Sun 23-Mar-14 20:06:12

I think you are more likely to have a successful blended family if there has been an amicable split, but it isn't essential.

DH's ex was massively hostile to the idea of him having anything to do with their DS, made threats, was physically abusive, routinely flouted court orders and said terrible things to DSS about his Dad. But perseverance through the courts and support from FNF won through in the end. DSS is now with us EOW and half the holidays. When he was interviewed by CAFCASS last year (about holiday contact) he said that he considers us all his family and spending time with his Dad and wider family made him 10 out of 10 happy. Ex still has outbursts but manipulating an 11 year old is a very different prospect from manipulating a toddler, and DSS copes magnificently with it.

It's been very tough over the years but it is so worth it.

Maybe83 Sun 23-Mar-14 20:38:25

We are a happy blended family...

My split wasn't amicable with ex he left me for a friend who he s still with. Dh split wasn't at all amicable...but we were all quite young then.

We are all flexible with access very much 50/50 but no set schedule. We use to pay maintenance and I received it from ex but due to split care and the fact we split Xmas birthdays etc we agreed to stop. We each pay costs in our own homes and share big costs like school etc. We attend joint days etc.

Dh ex bought us lovely presents when we had our dd as did my ex. I don't think we're lucky it's taken hard work a few tears and shouting along the way but I know all our kids are the better for it. I have respect for my ex and his partner as I do my ss mam.

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