To Divorced Moms and Stepmoms Trying to Make Peace

There are plenty of divorced mom and stepmom “couples,” trying to make it.

Hoping to find a way, at the very least, to be cordial to each other.

Maybe even friendly. Peaceful.

But this relationship is tricky at best. Just when you think you’ve made some progress, a rude comment or accusation comes out of left field and slaps you in the face.

Defeat.

We have a few mom/stepmom couples on our Facebook page attempting to conquer this mountain, right before our very eyes.  I commend them for having the cajones to put themselves out there, for the world to see, all in the name of finding peace with the other woman.

What’s it like to attempt this publicly?

On the one hand, these women get a chance to hear objective perspectives.

They get to work through real-time issues with the help of their peers; smart, caring women who have no other investment in the relationship other than wanting to see a win for the mom/stepmom team.

They’re offered insights they may not have come to on their own.

On the other hand, the difficulty with doing this publicly is that you want to get it right.

Suddenly there’s pressure to be perfect and kind.

If you have a problem with what the other woman said, you want to honor your truth and speak up about it, but you don’t want to look like a douche.

And you certainly don’t want to piss off the other woman. Not when you’ve come so far.

It’s a tough balance.

What I want to tell all women who are holding on to that olive branch for dear life, is this:

Whether you’re trying to make peace publicly, or in the privacy of your own life, you will have setbacks, but you are not defeated.

 

Every relationship has setbacks. Many of you will take twice as many steps backwards as you do forwards. It’s just the nature of this beast.

But a setback doesn’t invalidate all the work you’ve done up to that point.

It doesn’t mean everything was a lie or that there’s no hope for you.

It just means there’s more work to be done.

And if you’re feeling worn from the all the effort, take a breather.

There’s no timeline you need to stick to.  Ignore the voice in your head telling you to get it right, NOW.

Give yourself a break.

Recharge.

Then when you’re ready, put one foot in front of the other, again.

© 2011 Jenna Korf    All Rights Reserved

(Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Comments

  1. Thank you Jenna! It’s wonderful to be open with the relationship I have with Dina and get insight from all the other women ~ but it’s difficult when a problem arises. I don’t want my problem to discourage other women from trying to form relationships, nor do I want it to create setbacks with Dina and the progress we have made. It’s important to remember that any relationship will have bumps. Thank you for the reminder :-)

  2. This hit home for me! I am at that breather place right now and to be honest, not sure I want to try for a relationship so to speak, but what I find myself being comfortable with is the idea that she and I can be cordial. Sometimes things happen or things are said that you can not take back, trust is broken, and sometimes there are resentments with both parties that linger and may not be up for resolving on either side. Soooo……..Next best thing can be just being cordial. It works for me. :)

  3. Jessica Lunetta says:

    Very relatable. I, too, am in a breather phase. But I am just about to take some forward b/c of how important taking that break was. It’s a give and take, two lane road that takes some meandering. And there is no map!

  4. Jessica Lunetta says:

    I hate typing on my phone.

  5. In the past year my relationship with one of my Hubby’s exes has changed for the better. However, I’ve realized recently that for now our relationship has gone as far as it can go. It’s friendly, but we are not friends. It’s been a good thing for our shared kids as it stands now.

    We just went on a four day road trip to deliver my Step Son to College: riding in the same car, eating all our meals together, in rooms next door to each other. It was a fantastic way to send my step son off. I know now that if our relationship never grows beyond this point – it was still worth the gamble in trying. I know that it led to us leaving a whole person (my step son) when we pulled away from his dorm on Sunday. His loyalties were finally merged one..

    I will be posting about my adventure next week on my blog http://www.hershisandours.com

    Thanks Jenna and Jen for the inspiration and support!

    Lisa

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you I needed this today. My husband’s ex and I have been making an effort to “bridge the gap” and more than tolerate each other. For the past year and a half we have been civil, but not friendly and speak as little as possible. My step-daughter is 2 years old and we have 50/50 custody. I’ve been so frustrated lately because I feel like, on the surface, we’ve made progress. We’ve worked together to create certain boundaries and she’s expressed appreciation for my part in raising and financing my step daughter. But under the surface I feel like it’s the same old story and this is only a facade that will slip away soon enough. The reason I feel this way is because even though on the outside we’re getting along, she keeps lying to me. She’s been caught in some awkward lies in the past month on accident, like stating that she really wants to switch days so that step-daughter can spend time with ex-wife’s mother who is terminally ill…only to run into ex-wife’s mother that same day and have her state that she was so upset she didn’t get to see step-daughter because ex-wife had taken her to meet her boyfriends family. When I asked her why she didn’t just tell me the truth if that’s why she wanted to switch days she became enraged with me that I would dare accuse her of lying because she had spent all day with her mother…she’ll never admit she did anything wrong (this was a problem before I was in the picture & she attended counseling for some time for it before deciding the counselor was against her and all wrong). She recently asked for me to trade around days and take my step daughter with me on a trip because she had a work conference in New York. I agreed to the changes, rearranged my plans, only to find out that really she was out partying that weekend with her boyfriend. I would have watched me step daughter for her either way – so why does she lie? I feel disrespected entirely because I was lied to and feel used and resentment building up all over again. I’m going to keep trying to build this relationship for my step-daughter’s sake…but I can’t help but feel like I’m allowing myself to be the doormat to be walked over. Am I really doing the right thing here or is the right thing, sometime, just shutting that door and not allowing myself to be used like that?

  7. Anon, can I ask why she’s negotiating with you instead of with the dad? This may be part of the problem.

    If things are brittle between you, I don’t see why she’s giving reasons and explanations anyway. All she needs to say is, “I’d like to switch to ____.”

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