To tackle the controversial topic of 'Jealous' SM's

(118 Posts)
TooSassy Wed 17-Oct-18 14:39:03

So, I've been on this thread on and off for about 18 months. There are (sadly) only a few threads which haven't descended into criticism of the OP / judgemental comments. There is a consistent critical chain of commentary that appears across threads.

1) Were you/ are you the OW?
2) Why did you get together with a man who had DC's if this is your attitude?
3) You're not the parent, keep your nose out and let the parent parent.
4) How dare you detach and not parent enough, your poor SC's..
5) You sound jealous of your SC's, poor SC's.

So, here's my thinking. I love mumsnet. I have learned so much from people here and not just that, received a lot of support (back in the 'i have a new baby days' stands out). I think everyones perspectives are valued, I do listen and absorb all POV's as I think (the constructive) comments are so very helpful.

So with that, I want to start a few threads. To discuss the above comments that come out on these threads. And see if we can all better understand the thinking that makes people criticise, when in actual fact, we may just be reading a post about someone who is really struggling. Who needs help and is seeking advice.

I hope everyone treats this with the intent it's meant. To be a constructive conversation so we can all understand perspectives that are different to ours. So with that, I'll start.

OP’s posts: |
TooSassy Wed 17-Oct-18 14:56:14

I'm a mum and although I have am not technically a SM (as I have a genuine aversion to remarriage ), I have a number of little people in my life. My DC and my DP's DC.

'Blending' families is not an easy task for most. I envy those people who find it easy but 9 times out of 10 I am pretty sure that all parents (including exes) are largely on the same page regarding parenting. i.e. lets not in anyway bring innocent children into adult situations and ensure they move between homes with minimal conflict.

Happily for me, I have that situation with my exH. Sadly for my DP, he doesn't have this situation with his EW. The net net is, zero drama around contact arrangements for my kids. Non stop court cases and drama for my DP regarding his kids. It's a nightmare situation.

As a partner I support and take a huge backseat when it comes to his DC, who are now starting to display behavioural problems, no doubt as a result of all the proceedings around them. So, for a period of time, my DP raised the whole marriage thing and net net is that is isn't happening, because I don't think it's right for his DC and also my DC.

However, when we were discussing it, I asked him. 'Would you want your DC there?'. Sounds like a terrible thing to ask doesn't it? But the likelihood is if the EW got wind of it, there is no chance the DC would arrive. So net net, drama. drama, drama, drama, over an event that is about our DC, but most importantly my DP and I.

And the thing is for some people in these situations, it is entirely possible that 90% of our lives are already dictated by what the EW allows around arrangements, compromising decisions constantly to try and accommodate what is best for all.

So, if I say to my DP...I don't want your DC there, because it's our day and I'm sorry but your DC come with non stop drama that consumes your time and energy. Does that make me a jealous SM? A selfish SM? Or just an adult who thinks 'enough, enough of your drama dominating my life.'


NB. Before I get burned into ash, I haven't said it, and its not going to be said, I totally don't wish to get married again.

OP’s posts: |
LatentPhase Wed 17-Oct-18 15:27:13

Interesting OP, OP! I think the tendency to criticise SM’s comes from the Wicked Stepmother stereotype.

I think motherhood is almost fetishised nowadays, and mothers too find they try and keep up appearances, pretend you’ve got everything covered when in reality you might be at your wits end with your child, about to go insane but mundanity/lack of sleep/whatever. I wondered if people find it particularly abhorrent that any sort of mother, including a step-mother, should be anything other then loving/accepting/ facilitating. Washing/cooking/cleaning and generally martyring herself.

I think this same fetishising of motherhood exists to keep dads out of the parenting eye/sustain gender stereotypes. Dads lose out here but they also don’t suffer from that same pressure. As either parents or step parents. To give all. Or take responsibility for the way children develop.

im with you, Sassy it’s not about rejecting the children/being jealous. It’s about wanting your home life to be peaceful. For me and also absolutely for my dc. That, for me, was why I got divorced. And it’s why I will not walk blindly into a complex blended family which has bits that just won’t, blend.

My children don’t need to be exposed to that level of tension & conflict.

Not that my DP is in conflict with his ex. They are good friends. But ineffective parents. Which can be another source of difficulty blending.

Like you in that situation I would consider a very small wedding indeed. To lessen the potential for drama.

HeckyPeck Wed 17-Oct-18 15:32:16

I think people often jump to jealously because it’s the easy answer. Or they/their kids have an awful SM.

Or maybe watching too much Disney.

Then again maybe I’m biased towards SMs as I have a lovely step mum and also get on really well with my step daughter?

Apart from one poster who keeps posting over and over I think most step mums who come on here are genuinely looking for help and often have crappy Disney Dads/Mums to contend with.

Spanglyprincess1 Wed 17-Oct-18 15:39:29

I think it's okay to be reasonable and blending is almost impossible if the ex's on either side are very difficult. Easier when kids are older as they can say what they want and be listened to - although that often beings its own challenges

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 17-Oct-18 15:40:56

I don't know that anyone would assume you were being jealous to want your hypothetical wedding to be you and your DH2B and not include the DC. Would you want your own DC there or no DC at all?

(I get you're not planning to get married so it's a funny example but speaking hypothetically).

For me, my DSC were a big part of our very small no-fuss wedding and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I posted on here about it at the time as ex said she wouldn't let them attend when she heard we were going to do it and that was very difficult for them and us. We carried on anyway, planned it for a weekend we had them and didn't tell them the date. In the end she relented anyway, even though she didn't know when it was (maybe because of that, she wasn't going to stop contact on the off chance we were heading down the aisle one weekend), they came with us, it was wonderful, and she's never mentioned it.

I couldn't have imagined it any other way, we're a family unit, they're a massive part of my/our life. I get that other people feel differently and your situation sounds very fraught and stressful already.

Generally, I agree that accusations of jealousy and being a man-stealing-home-wrecking bitch are levelled with glee and frequency on here. Sadly, sometimes they're bang on and there have been some absolute corkers recently where posters seem to view their SDC as an inconvenience or with so much contempt it's horrible to read and you have to wonder if the parent they're with knows what they really think. On the other hand, it's a fact that as a parent you're allowed to have a moan about your husband/partner/kids and get met with sympathy and support where a step parent is almost immediately told you knew what you were getting into, think of the children, your partner is a shit parent, you have no right to a life of your own, you're at fault. The same posters crop up time and again with an axe to grind about their ex's new partner, or their own step parent and take great delight in tearing strips off someone reaching out for help.

The OW one is interesting. It's become a reflex for some posters to assume if the ex hates you it's your fault and your partner's previous marriage ended because he was a bastard and either cheated or was abusive. Every now and then a poster says it was her partner's ex who cheated and that's why the marriage ended and it's STILL his fault for having driven her to it. Baffling. Wouldn't happen anywhere else on the site.

RB68 Wed 17-Oct-18 15:44:24

There are still far too many parents making arrangements for kids about themselves and not the kids, too much selfishness and not enough selflessness for the sake of kids. They will often say I will do anything for my kids but the reality is they won't allow them unfettered contact with the other parent, they don't prioritise their needs above theirs and they don't bite their tongues enough in front of them.

I appreciate children have a right to both parents they also have a right to enjoy both parents with out the interference or bad mouthing that goes on. If there is genuine abuse of the children physical emotional or mental then the courts should intervene but I almost thing we need a defacto standard on how to behave on divorce where abuse of the children isn't involved and that is just the way things are.

That means none of this moving away from each other to opposite ends of the earth unless you are prepared and have the wherewithall to fund contact in full (none of this making the other party meet halfway. None of this forcing kids under 12 to have contact - if they are kicking and screaming when handed over this is abusive in my view and should be looked into rather than just the one parent taking all the blame.

I think if we made divorce less confrontational it would help matters as well as it would leave a less bitter taste. I particularly think many women are still heavily penalised finacially by the system and left to cope with the costs of raising children without sufficient income from the ex partner who is often a higher earner in the first place


SandyY2K Wed 17-Oct-18 16:06:14

It can be a tricky road to navigate being a step parent, but I think it's equally or more difficult being a step child.

You didn't ask for it...then instead of having 2 can end up with another 2 parental figures..and more if your parent moves on to a subsequent relationship.

Some of the things you said are true in some cases.

There are some jealous stepmums... there are some very good stepmums. Some SMs openly admit to being jealous.

They might be jealous of the DC or of the life he has with the Ex... or that he pays £££ to the Ex.

Ex wives? Some can be very difficult. They can also be jealous and bitter and I think when people ask if SM was the OW ... it's because they're thinking logically.

If I was split from my Ex for a number of years... I see no reason to suddenly become a PITA if he has a new partner.. or to without visitation..because I'd be looking forward to child free time and having a social life.

I see my myself as normal in that respect when an Ex displays negative behaviour... it's not unreasonable to ask if you were the OW.

I agree with a pp that most then say she cheated on him. I'm not sure I believe some of the denials or the counter accusations though.

I've said this before but I believe a lot of the issues stepmums go through, are because of their DH/DP....but because they love them its easier to blame the Ex.

Ferro5by5 Wed 17-Oct-18 16:16:41

I was so excited to find there was a space for step parents on here and then so disappointed when I saw the reactions on most threads. I’ve been a stepmum for a few years and have found it to be the steepest learning curve of my life. It also feels hugely isolating at times. When I struggle I don’t know who to turn to in order to honestly talk about those struggles. To complain about your kids is seen as part and parcel of life while complaining about your stepkids is a deep betrayal. Talk to those close to you who don’t have a blended family and you might find that they simply tell you they couldn’t do it, to walk away. Your worries and fears sometimes feel even worse.

Where is the ‘safe space’ for us to say that it’s not all sunshine and roses without being made out to be hateful?! Because it, really sadly, doesn’t seem to be here.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 17-Oct-18 16:59:34

If I was split from my Ex for a number of years... I see no reason to suddenly become a PITA if he has a new partner.. or to without visitation..because I'd be looking forward to child free time and having a social life.

I'm sure you'd be completely reasonable and amicable, but there are plenty of posts on MN from women who say while they don't want their ex back they hate the thought of him moving on with someone else, especially the new DP spending time with their DC or having a baby. They say so themselves so it's not all wild assumptions and projections from SMs.

"I won't let my DC meet her"
"I don't want them playing happy facilities with MY kids"
"My kids aren't going anywhere near her baby"

Bananasinpyjamas11 Wed 17-Oct-18 17:08:28

Very interesting.

Im sure some SMs are jealous, (my own SM) however I’ve seen relatively few on these boards. People seem to post because they seem desperate and despondent. In the power balance they seem on the bottom of the pile.

SMs often face real hostility and problems and then to be labeled jealous is a real kick in the face. I know I’ve faced big criticism on these boards in the past, basically saying I must be a resentful or jealous SM. I think most SMs are just trying to gain some harmony. You are right @toosassy. Some of us start with hopes of happiness, and then just hope for a bit of peace!

There is still a stigma. If I’d described what my DSD was like on the parenting board, I would get loads of sympathy, and told to have sharp words with the child. However on this board, it’s much more likely that it will be perceived as ‘it must be something I as SM has done’ to cause it. And to let it go. Or improve myself. Or change DP.

I actually totally get where you are coming from re the wedding. It’s the DRAMA isn’t it. The constant, ongoing drama. sigh!

Which is another way of describing that our DPs attention is elsewhere. It is being pulled and sucked in to their exes and kids needs in a way that it excessive to the normal attention of parenting. In the same way, we also get pulled in and our attention and energy is spent on wasteful useless resentments, jealousies and conflict.

That time and energy does not get spent on building our relationship and blended family.

Me and my DP are in the looong process of separating - however I too tried to envision my DSDs at our wedding, and I felt a bit ill! Why?
- DPs main focus would be his (now adult) kids. (Because of guilt)
- At least 2 of the DSDs would be acting out in some way, ignoring me, or being moody, or attaching themselves to DP. (Because they don’t want me in their lives and are loyal to their mother).

Who wants that on their wedding day?!

Although one DSD is fine, does not have ‘agendas’ and the thought of her at our ‘wedding’ would just be great. However, all together, she’d be stood in a gang with her sisters.

This is why there will never be a wedding. The stress of the ongoing bad feeling has broken anything good about our blended family. It could have been a win win. Now it’s a lose lose for everyone including DSDs!

stuffedpeppers Wed 17-Oct-18 19:16:22

I think the comments all have a place and do help clarify some things.

High conflict EX - does bring in the question are you the OW, because it does add a completely different dynamic as to how people react.

My Ex got with OW - it was dire for the DCS. My ability to trust the two people who had and were making both mine and my DCS lives hell was non existent. He now has new girlfriend who I really like, trust and we communicate like adults.

Some posters do state they hate the DCS - which does beg the question, Why did you get together? I think there is a lot of naivety as to how hard having step kids are. Utopia in a relationship is so different when the DCs appear. It is a again a valid question - because it does help us understand the mindset of the poster as to what they thought it was going to be like.

The next 2 - I disagree with fundamentally.

The last - so often people resent the 2/14 days that the SCs get to see their Dad. And yes it does sound like jealousy - so again a valid point.

I have had vile SM and lovely SM for my DCs - they both exist.

I know which one I prefer.

TooSassy Wed 17-Oct-18 19:19:56

So here's the question. If we say there are some jealous SM's, what is it that makes us brand some jealous and some not jealous?

Because I can guarantee that if I opened a thread, at my wits end headed "I don't want my SC at my wedding', there would be some negative comments immediately on the thread. And my question is why? Why is that? Why is there not more patience and understanding that, potentially, there is something else going on?

(Sorry annegilbert I had to use a RL convo that happened but that I could see could very easily be morphed into 'why are you jealous of your SC?)

Anywhere else on mumsnet, if posts were put up that I am struggling with my DC/ i am finding parenting stressful/ I am overwhelmed and hate my life - they would be met with patience and compassion. Of posters seeking to get to the bottom of what was happening.

The reality is that we are all dealing with mixed bags on here. Some parents are awful. Some SP's are awful. Equally there are amazing parents and SP's. BUT I do feel this board, has a complete lack of compassion around how genuinely stressful step parenting can be.

And I do think that by the time posters come on here, they are at their wits end. And even though the post can come across as something inane which simply doesn't justify the response of the SM who is posting. What is missing is history, which sometimes quite simply cannot be quantified.

I am a highly articulate person in RL. Yet even I fail to find the words to describe just how hard I find being around my DP's DC. I'm not jealous of them, I'm not a bad person, I'm secure in myself. But I'm surprised at how many posters on here seem to empathise with just how hard this is and how many relationships dangle by a thread as a result.

OP’s posts: |
TooSassy Wed 17-Oct-18 19:31:17

I Should say I'm surprised by how many posters on here dont empathise.

I've faced some challenges in my life but at no point did I think being involved in my DP's DC's lives would be this difficult. I by no means thought we would live in utopia, but neither did I think that dealing with the constant drama would be the events that would push me into thinking (for the first time in my life), am I depressed? Why is this so hard? Why am I not coping better?

And I think that can be reality for many SP's. They are hurting, broken, confused and surely this should be a place that any SP should be able to come, without judgement?

OP’s posts: |
Mamabearx4 Wed 17-Oct-18 20:07:40

I dont usually post here, as i dont want to come across as something im not then be attacked for it which unfortunatly happens here sometimes justifiably.

I have a dsd and 3 dc. I have been step mum for 12 years. Not ow, not jealous of dsd or ew. Bm and us have had issues but im not going into those. Dsd lives with us, she has a number of issues which we are detangling to make her well. It is fucking hard, it takes time away from my own dc. Am i resentful no, i choose to do this im her main carer now. And i will fight her corner as much as my own dc. We have a good relantionship and she sees me as stable, so i have never detached myslef from her nor will i do so. I encourage the bond with bm and dad.
Titles like you mentioned sound resentful, and maybe worded differently would prompt better responses. But 9/10 the way the poster comes across in the post dictates how responses go.

Spanglyprincess1 Wed 17-Oct-18 20:07:46

Yep it's genuinely awful sometimes but also nice. I didn't realise untill I had my baby how vast the casm is between what I feel for my own child and them. Dp can't understand but what's worse is he thinks he does because he's had children before, but and I stress this he's never been a step parent and it's very very different.
Tbh how he and his ex behave, combines with the stresses of the kids is making me doubt that I can do this and will ever be happy. If I had my time again I would never date a man who has already had kids, despite me having one of my own

user1493413286 Wed 17-Oct-18 20:23:53

When I got into a relationship with a man with a child I understood and accepted that DSD would always come first but I didn’t truly realise how much impact her mum would have on my life from practical arrangements to the distress caused to my DH. Perhaps that was naive but I also don’t think it makes me a bad person to sometimes resent how this woman can have such an impact on my life on her whims. Since having my own DD it’s even harder to accept that her behaviour and choices have a direct impact on my DD and again I don’t think I’m a bad person for feeling resentful of that at times.
I love my DSD and I’d never change my situation but I wouldn’t “recommend” being a step parent.
I also think there’s a lack of understanding about how some dads have learnt to parent; there’s a lot of criticism on here of dads who are “Disney” dads and who don’t have clear bedtimes, boundaries etc and people saying why are you with someone who parents that way. I do agree that it’s not a good way to parent but I also understand that when you see your child for 48 hours every other weekend you don’t want to spend the whole time telling them off and dealing with tantrums and actually them falling asleep cuddled into you at night is a way to get more time and affection than sending them to bed at 8pm.
I’ve also learnt that my DH is a very different parent (very good parent) when he is with our DD full time compared to trying to make up to DSD for not being there all the time

Bananasinpyjamas11 Wed 17-Oct-18 20:36:06

I think OP and others, that this board reflects real life in that as an SM it is negatively assumed:
- that SMs want to push DSCs out.
- that SMs are often the OW with no morals.
- that SMs have no understanding of being a step child.
- that SMs are competitive and jealous.

In most threads I’ve posted my own problems on, I’ve had to defend myself against all of the above, despite having nothing in my post that would infer that I am any if the above.

So it can be very frustrating when trying to deal with a problem here and in RL, we get bogged down with unfounded prejudice.

I’m NOT the OW.
And I did not have my step kids EOW - they were full time/every weekend.

I’ve been on this board a while, and most SMs posting are:
- mothers already, with kids, who are not OW, who genuinely are trying to blend a family successfully. They have an ex and their kids also have a SM.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Wed 17-Oct-18 20:41:46

I've faced some challenges in my life but at no point did I think being involved in my DP's DC's lives would be this difficult. I by no means thought we would live in utopia, but neither did I think that dealing with the constant drama would be the events that would push me into thinking (for the first time in my life), am I depressed? Why is this so hard? Why am I not coping better?

That is exactly how I felt. I’m almost out the other side now so I’ve some perspective. And I’ve toughened up hugely. I do think being a SM really affected my mental health. It was traumatic! At the time I think even I minimized my own upset, tried to get on with things. However it was a brutal experience. It was like being crushed as a person.

Some of the posts on this thread are similar. I do sympathize with you.

And I think that can be reality for many SP's. They are hurting, broken, confused and surely this should be a place that any SP should be able to come, without judgement?

So I would also second this. Many SMs are having a seriously hard time!

PinkGinny Wed 17-Oct-18 22:51:04

I'm the evil ex. The bitter & twisted harridan but actually not. But what my ex's partner (who was the ow) and indeed my ex fail to realise is the she is now a complete non-entity to me. She doesn't figure into my decision making at all. Nada. My priorities are me and my children. My ex factors in so far as is necessary to make arrangements and keep our joint children safe, well and happy. I didn't invite her into my life. She has no place in it.

I'm unclear if I have any impact or influence on her life, but she has a clear influence and impact on my children and that galls. I have no control of the nonsense she trills, often at utter odds with my own beliefs and views but that I need to suck up. And I do silently. Luckily as they mature and take in lots of experiences they seem to be disregarding some of her more bizarre nuggets.

So she is nowhere near as important to me as she seems to think she is. So not jealousy, no longer anger, just utter indifference. I think she struggles with that, so likely interprets it negatively where actually it's not, it's more a meh, I don't actually care that you can't do X, or Y because of Z. I'm good. Kids are good. And there ends my interest.

Fabellini Wed 17-Oct-18 22:52:29

stuffedpeppers I can’t answer or refute all your points, but one thing I will say is..
You meet someone, in a pub, online, at work..wherever - you go on a couple of dates and think they’re really nice. They tell you they’ve got kids and show you photos, they clearly love their kids and speak of them often. You go on a few more dates and then a weekend away. Then you start spending time at each other’s homes. They tell you they love you, you feel the same.
You introduce them to your parents, and meet theirs. Everybody gets along. Several months go past and it’s time to meet the kids.
(You’ve taken your time and listened to the Mumsnet people telling you to wait til you know it’s serious before you’re introduced to them).
You’re in deep by then, and although you expect a few teething troubles once the “honeymoon” period is over for you all, you really truly love this person so you’re going to give it your all.
Nobody thinks it will be as bad as it has been for many of the posters here - but surely you can see why they haven’t imagined how it will turn out, or had the foresight to avoid entering into the relationship in the first place?

Blendingrock Wed 17-Oct-18 23:13:53

I agree.

Blending our family has been one of THE most stressful things I've ever done. Same as Bananas we are now a few years in (11 to be exact), through the worst of it and the kids are pretty much all living their own lives. In the early days it would have been a life saver to have had supportive, judgement free forum to turn to for advice.

I thought I was going in with my eyes open, when in reality, I was incredibly naive. Even with the best of relationships with your DP, sometimes you wonder how you'll stay sane. Always having to be the bigger person is exhausting. The things I thought would be easy, were incredibly hard. It was a constant roller coaster ride and you'd just pick yourself up from one crisis and you'd be blindsided by the next.

To those SM's starting out,
- be honest with yourself and your DP. No matter how much you love your DP, blended family life is not for everyone, and there is no shame, or weakness in admitting that.
- Treat one another, and your step kids as you would want them to treat you and yours.
- There is no "one rule fits all" approach to step families. What works for you may not work for someone else. Making it up as you go along, learning by trial and error is perfectly acceptable and what we all do.
- You're not a doormat or scape goat. Don't allow yourself to be treated as one, by anyone, your DP included.
- If you need to growl at your step kids/have a difficult conversation with them, before you start, think how you'd speak to your own child about it, and tackle it with your step kids the same way.
- If you're angry, try to be kind. Harsh words said in haste can linger and be damaging for years.
- If you disagree with DP or your ex, do it in private.
- Don't badmouth your ex or your DP's ex to your kids, or theirs, ever. Its damaging to the kids and counterproductive for everyone.
- Listen to your instincts. If something feels "off" it probably is, don't bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. It won't. It will get worse.
- Blended life can be a roller coaster, but it can be amazing and awesome. Actively take the time to build a "bank" of good memories/shared laughter/fun experiences and new traditions for your family unit. These help to balance the ikky stuff.

Unfortunately there will always be people who judge and say hurtful things on forums which (hopefully) they would never dream of saying in RL. Blended family life is hard enough. Let's at least try to be kind to one another and supportive, even if we disagree.


swingofthings Thu 18-Oct-18 06:00:58

The selfishness would have nothing to do with the kids here but with your OH if indeed you were imposing something that he wasn't himself happy with but agreed just to please you.

Like many issues raised here, I think it's a relationship matter rather than a SC one. How do you tackle a situation when you want something and your partner wants something else? How do you approach compromises? Are there any limits?

Everyone here, myself included (for not saying first!) judge situations on what we read. What we don't know is what is not said. We don't know what compromises are made in the relationship and whether they tend to always be one direction or more equal. We also have a natural tendency to see our compromises and not be so aware of the compromises our partners make, often because these are assumed to be done with pleasure rather than effort.

I totally agree that whether ex or SP, many decisions are made for the benefits of the adults rather than the children although justified with reasons to pretend it is not the case. Exes are certainly as guilty of this as fathers.

I also think that exes or SPs, we put more efforts into trying to impose change to suits us rather than learning from these situations and let change take place naturally. Most people, children and adults don't like to be imposed radical change in situations we feel comfortable and safe in. I believe that's the main reason why kids rebel in acting poorly. They adjust much better with slow change they feel they have some control over.

Magda72 Thu 18-Oct-18 17:13:30

Great idea @TooSassy.
Regarding the negativity: I'm an exw & my story goes something like this. Like many others I trundled along in a bad marriage & then exh announced he was off - turns out he was having an affair. Even though the marriage hadn't been good for a while I was devastated & felt so betrayed. He swanned off with the ow, leaving me with 3 gutted kids. Was I bitter? Hell yeah. Thing is - I had family, friends, hobbies, a job & could afford a therapist. In other words I had a life outside my family & friends so the bitterness (which I think is perfectly normal in the immediate aftermath of separation) didn't take hold. I'm also a very optimistic & independent person by nature so I had a good ability to bounce back.
I think in many women that bitterness gets a foothold & if left unchecked it escalates. I think it's particularly evident if a woman has given herself over to her family, because when that family disbands though separation or divorce a huge part of her identity in undermined & put under threat.
Enter the sm.
My exh's now dw (who was the ow) was childless when they met & once introduced to the kids when into total overdrive trying to mother them (I see now she knew no better & was only trying to fit in) which drove me insane & yes made me feel like she was trying to rob my kids. More therapy & venting to my friends for me! Once I had calmed down & gotten back into my rational brain I was well able to see she was no threat - just an extra person in the kids' lives. Again, I'm convinced one of the reasons I got such a quick handle on this was that I had an active & busy life outside of the kids.
Women are imo programmed to be a little more jealous than men. I think it's some old anthropological thing that has us protecting the family unit when under threat & I think letting go of that unit is very, very difficult for many women no matter how much they wanted a divorce.
My dp's exw is like this. She has nothing in her life bar her kids, & her bitterness & sense of abandonment (even though she wasn't) override everything else. She didn't want dp as a husband but also feels that once hers, still hers & the fact that she's the mother of his kids gives her primary status in her eyes.
From a sm point of view I also think that we are programmed to protect the family unit whatever we see that unit as being & as such it can be very difficult trying to establish who that unit even comprises of.
I don't have kids with dp & my family unit is my kids & I & then dp. It is impossible for me to see his kids as family as his ex just won't encourage it at all. I would love us all to be able to live together when dp has his kids but after much soul searching I realize that like you toosassy, I too cannot deal with the endless drama & really do feel I have to protect my kids from that. The issues with dp, his ex & kids tend to dominate everything & I actually said to him last week that I just can't listen to it anymore - whole evenings spent discussing his worries about his kids. I'm asked for advice but never listened to. I think most sm's are thrown into an impossible situation. If you don't have kids you're left trying to adapt to established dynamics & if you do have kids you're expected to love the sdc as your own while never interfering. Dp expects me to be as worried about his kids as he is, but I'm just not.
I think men are allowed make statements like this but women just aren't.
If sf's take on their sdc they are considered saints. If the don't everyone says fair enough why should he.
If a sm takes on her sdc she's told proper order & if she doesn't she's labelled horrible & selfish.

TooSassy Thu 18-Oct-18 17:33:27

Magda our situations appear virtually identical to be honest.

My DP's EW made the decision to divorce and irrespective of that, will not accept that he has moved on. And will not let go, holding on via an incredible unhealthy dynamic of negative engagement.
I am also identical in so much that I have told my DP that we cannot live together for precisely the same reason. Our relationship is actually very nearly over because of the non stop drama permeating his life and by virtue mine. We love each other but as I look down the barrel of this very possibly being for the rest of my life, every voice inside of me screams 'run'.

And the thing is, I am not the OW. I am a mum. I have never used my children as weapons against my exH despite very similar circumstances to yours. I am open and loving and wished for nothing more than to create a happy haven, another home for my DP's DC. It has sadly been rendered impossible due to the level of drama and manipulation his DC are surrounded by.

Should I try harder with his DC? Perhaps. Should I be more of an adult? Perhaps. But is this my problem to solve for and expend countless hours and emotional energy on? No. Does that make me a bad (non official SM), I'm sure it does. But the blunt reality is, these aren't my DC, their issues are not of my making and they are not mine to solve.

And quite frankly, I'm so over the DRAMA!

And I think that 'DRAMA' is what is so misunderstood on these boards. The constant, non stop, something will happen every single time, that builds up and builds up. I wish people posting on these boards actually understood how difficult these situations actually are.

Because, perhaps, with more constructive conversations and sharing of coping techniques, more of us could get through these situations with our relationships intact.

What are you going to do Magda? Do you plan to stay with your DP?

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