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Is it normal

(53 Posts)
TwoDots Mon 16-Oct-17 11:38:48

For all you experienced step mums out there, is it normal to feel waves of sadness? Not so much about the children but about high involvement with an ex, and watching your partner actively parent with another woman. Or does the fact I feel this (not always) mean I’m probably not cut out for step mum life?

Does anyone else feel like this and are still happy in your relationship?

dertyyuoih2 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:43:22

Are you a new step mum? I think at first it’s natural to feel like that and it does get better in time, I’ve been a step mum for 8 years and it’s not been easy or a walk in the park.

However as I’ve got older and my DS has got older life Has become easier, his ex has had various partners which is easier and my DS has had more of a choice in things. I also realised the little things that used to make me annoyed don’t anymore as you get used to them.

It’s never going to be easy being involved in children’s lives but having no direct say in them but it does get better!

Orangebird69 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:44:17

It was fine when I was a SM. But I had a nice relationship with ex dh's exw. She and her dh came to our wedding reception. It makes a difference. Do you get on with the exw?

fairygarden Mon 16-Oct-17 11:48:22

I have DSD and struggle a lot with knowing he shares that with his ex. Me and ex w have a bad relationship and I have not bonded with the children really.

I wouldn’t say it gets easier, but you find ways of managing it.

Wdigin2this Mon 16-Oct-17 11:59:04

There were lots of decisions made between my DH and his EW, which I had no part in, but did affect me personally. At the time it used to wind me up, but over the many years we've been together, I've learned to a) go my own way so it doesn't affect me, or b) on occasions where it affected me seriously, discuss other ways of accommodating everyone to the best result!
It takes time and patience, but if I'm affected, then I have a say!

TwoDots Mon 16-Oct-17 12:03:32

I’m a year and a half in

I don’t like the ex much. Too much to go into here but I know that probably doesn’t help

Not sure how I will ever truly be ok with it

Winterc00kie Mon 16-Oct-17 12:11:15

I think its normal, my dp has 2 with his ex.

TwoDots Mon 16-Oct-17 12:36:12

It’s nice to know it’s normal. How do you deal with it? Is it just time and trying to get on with the ex?

How long did it take people to feel more accepting and is there anything else I can do?

Unihorn Mon 16-Oct-17 12:38:42

High involvement with his ex has never bothered me. I've been a stepmum for almost 6 years. For the first three years he would even stay with her family on Christmas morning to see his daughter. I don't know if maybe the circumstances of their split makes a difference though? My husband and his ex split before the baby was born.

TwoDots Mon 16-Oct-17 12:55:17

@dertyyuoih2 , what used to bug you which no longer bugs you?

Winterc00kie Mon 16-Oct-17 13:09:23

I get on with their mum fine, i just hurt as my DP doesnt want kids not he is 41, I'm 30 with a DP 10 (prev relationship) and he has DD15 and DS 11 (and DS is a very mardy, very fussy eater and will hardy eat anything other than junk food, thats a challenge in its self at times)

His ex is quite dramatic and ballsy but she means well i think.

Winterc00kie Mon 16-Oct-17 13:10:00

*now he is 41

bitzy12 Mon 16-Oct-17 16:03:21

I’m 2 years in. I have 2 separate situations going on as dh has 2 children with separate mothers. One is a teenager. Her mum I have no problem with at all. I’ve said this in other posts. We are friends on facebook, always have a good chat, she came to our wedding and here and there we do things together. She has been with her partner years and has a son with him. There is nothing between my dh and her other than the their daughter. The relationship they have is the ideal relationship when a child is involved and they are no longer together. Dh could go round for tea if he wanted, it wouldn’t bother me. I wouldn’t feel worried or have any reason to feel uneasy about it. Sometimes dh drops her off and he will stay and have a chat with his ex. It’s fine by me.

The other ex however is the complete opposite. They have a 4 year old son together. They split up after she kicked him out leaving him with a load of debt - which we are still paying. However at that time she was messing with his head saying she still wanted him. Then he met me and moved on. She couldn’t handle it and still can’t. She hates me although will be pleasent when dh is around. She is horrible. Bitter. Tried to ruin our wedding. Bruised my dh’s arm in an argument as she threw something at him. Was also aggressive when they were together and tried to get him arrested over her violence lol. Stops dh from having dss when she feels like it yet kicks off when we say we can’t him him extra. Puts kisses on the end of texts to him, usully around 5/6 when she’s drunk. I also do not agree with her parenting. Each to their own obviously but she finds it appropriate to leave dss upstairs in the bath while she sits in the garden having a glass of wine :-/ has a new boyfriend but he’s addicted to weed. She also claims all single parent benefits but works cash in hand getting £400 a week. She expects us to treat dss like a prince and put him above our other children.

So yep I have it both ways. I’m married to my dh and will not let her get in the way. However what I have learnt is not to keep my mouth shut anymore. If she does or says something that frustrates me I used to hold it in. Now I don’t - see my current post. Dh knows exactly how I feel about her and how insecure she can sometimes make me feel. He is there for me.

So my advice is, if you find it hard. Don’t hold it in. Think about what you need to say before you say it so it doesn’t come across as though you don’t care about his children. But holding it in does you no good. x

sweetbitter Mon 16-Oct-17 16:47:24

My DP has a very active co parenting and friendly relationship with his ex, and I have to say I can't really identify with what you're feeling. I have maybe felt one or two times a little flash of pique when they have done something together with DSS and without me/ex's DH but definitely not waves of sadness. I am mostly really grateful that they get on and we all get on together and try to make all our lives and DSS's life easier, especially when I read so many horror stories about dysfunctional ex relationships here on mumsnet.

However, I also am not in the least maternal and don't want children of my own. I suspect this makes a difference, do you think that's part of it for you? That you want to share he experience of parenting with your DH?

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 16-Oct-17 21:48:27

DH and ex have nearly no parenting relationship at all. Her choice. She moved house and DSCs school and we found out it was happening when DSD broke down and told me she was worried she'd have no friends in her new class. Not an easy time!

Dates are done by email, pattern doesn't change much and they text the briefest messages about any changes, usually her asking us to keep them longer which works for us.

I don't like her. We have no relationship. She was very abusive to DH and lies constantly. She's an okay parent but we do a lot of the crap parenting stuff as she just can't be bothered. Turned out at the weekend that she hasn't bathed then or washed their hair for months as we do it every weekend when we have them.

We go to parents evenings, she hasn't bothered for a year.

So they have two separate lives. I think it's called parallel parenting.

Yes they were together a long time, got married and had two children. But for many years it was an awful relationship and the DSC still talk about mummy shouting at daddy all the time and everyone being sad. Everyone's happier now. She still slags him off but doesn't shout as much! She's an okay parent and between us they're well looked after.

And I've been married before. There were good bits and shit bits. DH and I have learnt a lot and have a great loving marriage. I'm not jealous of their past and I know how different my relationship is with DH than with my ex. I know he feels the same. I feel sad for him that he spent more years than he should have with a vile woman. Everyone and especially the DC are happy they split up.

swingofthings Tue 17-Oct-17 06:03:56

I don't think it is so much a step-mum issue but an ex one. Is it her who left him, or him who left her?

I left my ex because of issues and it was clear that he still had feelings for me. He moved on, but the feelings weren't completely gone and I can only imagine that although he certainly wouldn't have said anything to his new girlfriend, she most likely sensed it. As she is naturally quite an insecure person, she probably couldn't help but feel some anxiety that I could change my mind now that he had found someone else and try to win him back behind her back and therefore wanted to ensure there'd be as little contact between us as possible and that caused some friction as we'd managed to be friendly as co-parents before and I found it really difficult to see us becoming strangers when I knew ex was acting as such only because of her putting pressure on him.

Everything got much better when I met my OH, and all issues disappear when we married. She knew then that I was out of the picture for good at the same time that she finally realised that my ex loved her more than anything.

Similarly, I went through similar feelings when I first got with my OH and there was an ex around in the background. No children, so no need for interaction, but my kids and hers became friends at school (unbeknown to any of us who the kids were!), going to similar places etc... It soon became clear to me that she still had feelings for him and would have loved to get back with him, so inevitably, it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. However, I felt secure that OH feltwe were soulmates and that he had no lost love for her or intention to ever consider going back with her. Again, when they ran into each other one day and he told her we were getting married, it all stopped.

I think these feelings are inevitable at the beginning and 18 months together is still early when they have been married for years with someone else. I've been with OH for 9 years, married for almost 5, and still I'm counting when it will be longer than the time he was with his ex wife, even though they have not been in any contact whatsoever for about 15 years! It's a psychological thing, but something we need to keep for ourselves and take with some lighteners because it's just us women being a bit silly!

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Tue 17-Oct-17 06:17:54

I think our situation is different because I get on with his ex, and we went to her wedding and she came to ours. I do sometimes feel insecure, because we are very different and I struggle to understand how someone can be attracted to me but have been attracted to her in the past (she was always slim, I have always struggled with my weight) but I have no fears that he would want to be with her rather than me.

It may help that she had no contact with my stepsons growing up, so I feel a little sorry for her having missed out on their childhoods, and she was very sweet to me when I was pregnant with DS and sick - she drove me round looking for an open pharmacy at Christmas.

Even with all that good feeling towards her, it's not always easy and there are flashes of jealousy when she texts and puts kisses on the texts, but then she does that with texts to me too.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Tue 17-Oct-17 06:21:12

Also forgot to add, we didn't go out for our wedding anniversary for years because his ex left him on their 13th wedding anniversary - she was dancing with him when she told him she had met someone else and didn't love him. So I made sure that we did something on our 13th anniversary and have every year since, as a pp said it's a psychological thing and I was determined to overcome it.

NewLevelsOfTiredness Tue 17-Oct-17 10:30:47

If a step-dad can can chime in...
I find it difficult sometimes because the girl's dad only parents on request. He does do parent's evening, events etc as long as he's reminded the day before but he wouldn't ever notice if he wasn't informed. My girlfriend simply strives to keep him involved as much as possible, for the girl's benefit and to be honest, for his too.

Meanwhile, the girls live with us 12 days out of 14 and I try to balance basically fathering them full time with tying to work out where this line is that I shouldn't cross. They're only 3 and 7 and basically the focus of my life. I love my girlfriend so much and couldn't contemplate losing her but the thought of ever losing those two girls cuts so much deeper.

And then there's days like when the 3yr old started kindergarten and their dad calls in the evening. My gf starts telling about the little one's first day and he says he's not really interested, he just wanted to chat with my gf. I'd taken the next day off work and arranged to work from home the day after because we agreed with the kindergarten that she should be eased in with short days to begin with, and their dad couldn't be arsed to hear a couple of sentences about how she had done?

He's still in love with her (it was a very dependent relationship in which she basically mothered him, which I think is why it's hard for him to move on.) I don't blame him obviously. I never have even the first moment's worry about my gf's feelings, so that's not an issue, but yes, it's difficult that they are by necessity close still to co-parent the girls.

He's actually doing a better job of showing an interest and making the most of his weekends, to be fair. And to his credit he doesn't just totally Disney Dad them either - they might get more candy but he doesn't spoil them in an over the top way and they undeniably come back happy. And we actually get on pretty well with eachother. He hates me in the sense that I'm with his ex, but actually has no issues with me as a person.

It's just difficult. The bond him and my gf will always share, the knowledge that he will always (and rightly so) mean more to the girls than I do, the slightly infuriating knowledge that he isn't quite shit enough for me to really feel hard done by over it.

Hmm, sorry, I ranted a bit. Life is actually really good and I don't regret deciding to invest everything in this family for a second but maybe I bottle one or two frustrations.

Justwanttobehappy08 Tue 17-Oct-17 11:57:41

I am struggling with this myself at the moment. The feeling that his ex wife will always share something with him that I won’t (three lovely children) The fact that he has a fairly amicable text based relationship with his ex wife whereas myself and my ex still have volatile moments over our lovely two year old son. And also the fact that my partner has a beautiful loving relationship with my son (they mutually adore each other) and I am still quite distant from his children. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the stress and heartache but I know it is my feelings that are making this far worse. Any advice on how to deal with moments of jealousy and insecurity much appreciated

swingofthings Tue 17-Oct-17 17:25:53

Any advice on how to deal with moments of jealousy and insecurity much appreciated
Don't try to fight it, just accept that you feel this way and that it is ok. It's often the guilt of feeling negative that does the damage rather than the feeling itself. So what you feel a bit jealous and insecure at times? Most people do for one thing or another. What matters is to be aware, as you ware, that it is our issue, not that of others and therefore we should demand of others to change their way to suit us when they really are not doing anything wrong in the first place. Time usually make things better.

Magda72 Tue 17-Oct-17 19:12:58

Hi Two Dots,
I totally understand where you're coming from. Dp & I actually discussed this a few times & he feels exactly the same.
Our moments of sadness are around the fact that we didn't meet earlier & that we wasted so many years on our exs.
like another poster says I find it very hard that my relationship with his kids will never be easy as their mum hates my very existence & dp struggles with the fact that my ex is always trying to muscle in on what happens in our home.
We have actively chosen not to have any kids together even though we would love to as we couldn't afford it, nor would we risk the level of crap he would have to go through from his kids and his ex.
That being said, as Swing says we are both the adults & it's our stuff to deal with & we just have to get on with it.
We're both glass half full people and feel so blessed that we managed to find each other at all. It's not easy though to always see the up side & some days are definitely harder than others.
It does get easier as the kids get older though. My youngest is 11 & has matured so much in the last year & is really getting to a point where she manages her relationship with her dad. My two older boys were always & still are very mature & they too manage their stuff with their dad & so my dealings with him are really starting to lessen which feels really good.
Dps kids are all teens but very unworldly & so his contact with his ex is still very regular & that's hard. His eldest wants some gym equipment for his mums house. Mum refuses to buy it, refuses to drive to collect it & refuses to find someone to assemble it. All a ploy to get dp to fork out for equipment he already has in our home (which his son uses) & to spend a day in her house assembling stuff & playing happy families.
Dp said no - son lost it, ex lost it. What do you do? Stuff like this very hard.
Let yourself be sad & know that it will pass & get easier - eventually.

Justwanttobehappy08 Tue 17-Oct-17 23:34:07

Thanks for the advice and kind response Swing. I am finding things very challenging at the moment I hope with time things become easier but honestly not sure we will get that far as all the past history and blending of families seems so difficulet. It makes me feel immensely sad mostly for my son who I wanted so much to have a positive step dad influence in his life. He has his father but who he sees regularly but we are not in a place where we can actively share communication without it becoming at times angry still. I’m hoping that will also improve with time.

EndofSummer Wed 18-Oct-17 11:46:48

Yes of course!

Harder than any other role, being a SM. There are higher rates of depression among SMs than any other parental role, including single parenting. There’s a reason for this, it’s tough.

Tougher than being a step child too.

Tougher than being an Ex.

resentment against SMs can be extreme. Just look at this board if you don’t believe me! There’s a reason it’s SMs looking desperately for help. Not step kids... !

TwoDots Thu 19-Oct-17 12:34:57

Thank you so so much for the replies. Apologies I’ve been awol but it’s been a hard week. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way from time to time
Part of my problem is that I’m maternal and just want a nice, normal family with my man but it’s hard to accept that will never be the case. The other part is such high involvement from the ex....we’re talking daily contact (which my partner doesn’t want), and it feels a bit suffocating at times.

Anne, your scenario sounds ideal to me under the circumstances

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