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The SD & the EX

Cogito Ergo Sum's picture

Steplife is hard but in my situation, I’m dealing with two main issues, the SD & the EX.

My SS’s are biologically my SO’s but my SD isn’t, this is not the issue, her behaviour is. Classic mini wife – amongst other things. The EX is not high conflict like many mentioned on this site but she does suffer from an intense case of golden uterus syndrome, also, she is very keen on a ‘friendship’ with my SO. For the children – obvi.

It took me awhile to boil it down & realise that SD being treated differently (precious snowflake) by all the adults in her life as well the EX wanting a kumbaya (modern family) friendship with my SO are the two main sticking points in our relationship with regards to Stepville. For the sake of clarification, my SO thinks similarly, that being friendly with his EX is what he strives for as opposed to simply being polite. There are & will always be other things, YSS’s lack of table manners & OSS’s lack of motivation are just two that come to mind, but they are all manageable & not things I need to involve myself in if I don’t want to.

My SO does a decent job of dealing with both my SD & the EX. He definitely tries, to the best of his ability, to handle all the different elements of Stepland & to prioritise me as he should. Sometimes, I think the best of his ability is not good enough, I’m not being critical I’m just being honest.

Knowing what causes me issues & what I need to address is really helpful. It sometimes feels like SK’s & all that comes along with them is just so overwhelming but for me, it’s not everything, it’s certain things. This way, I can move forward & try to work with my SO because if I can’t communicate my needs & wants, he can’t help me.

This site has been a great resource, I joined almost a year ago & don’t post too often, I read a lot though. I’ve found some clarity & recognise the areas I/we need to focus our attention. I’ve also come to the realisation that I have a partner who wants to make out partnership work – that’s huge.

Find the core of your Stepping issues & then figure out if you have a supportive partner. That would be my advice, as first steps, for anyone else. Drowning out the noise & appreciating that my SO has my best interests at heart is the only way I’m navigating my way through the waters of Stephell.

I’m seriously thinking of going to speak to someone in a professional capacity, not because I’m desperate but because I want to do my best to avoid any sort of desperation, I think a neutral sounding board may help me. Perhaps ultimately, it’d be good to invite SO along but for now, I think it could be beneficial to me regardless of that.

I usually post when I’m in need of advice but this time, I guess I’m more just thinking out loud, taking stock of what I’ve learned & mapping a future plan... Any words of wisdom are always welcome tho Smile


Iamwoman's picture

It sounds like you are well disengaged, but maybe too well.

Disengagement from skids actions and DH's parenting is one thing. Great job.

However it seems you are also disengaged from DH. You said he is "supportive" of you, but you also say DH wants to be friends with his ex and you are not ok with that. That doesn't sound supportive at all. DH should respect your marriage enough to maintain a polite distance from the ex as opposed to an active friendship.

I would not be ok with a "friends with the ex" situation.

Although family courts, counselors, etc all say it's important for the children to see their parents get along as one big happy family," this is absolutely NOT healthy for anyone. It is disrespectful to a new spouse, it confuses the children or gives them false hope which only fuels resentment from them toward a new spouse, and it goes against every single one of our biological instincts relationship wise.

Cogito Ergo Sum's picture

Very interesting point, I think I feel that he's supportive because he's more than willing to address what makes me uncomfortable, which is that he's friendly with his EX as opposed to simply being polite to her. I do make my feelings clear & he is responsive to that but perhaps I don't push quite enough, I'm conscious of not dictating his actions, I want us to compromise. I need to be more vocal, that I know, I'm working on it.

bearcub25's picture

I have to disagree with 'the exes should never be friends as it confuses the skids'.   I have 2 co-workers with situations like that. 1 of them is a childless SM also.   They have absolutely no drama in their lives involving the XW or XH.   I have never heard a negative word out of them about custody, visitation, CS, etc.   They have both said that there have been disagreements but they work through them as adults and compromise to work out the issues with the step parents thoughts taken into consideration.   In both cases the kids are all happy, adjusted kids that are thriving.

It takes special people to make this work.  I envied them back with skids were under 18 and I was in hell.


Cogito Ergo Sum's picture

I appreciate the alternative viewpoint. This is why we're trying to find a middle ground, SO & BM were high school sweethearts & had their kiddies very young, they grew up together & even tho their relationship has been over since YSS12 was a baby I can understand that a friendship remains. I, on the other hand, find boundaries very important & this arrangement would never work for me if the roles were reversed. We haven't yet - but we'll find our compromise.

Iamwoman's picture

Bearcib25, I don't see anything in your argument indicating they are friends though. Do they all party together? Take vacations together? Discuss deeply personal non-child-related topics with each other? This is friendship.

If they are simply polite and get along nicely and are capable of resolving conflict in a mature fashion, that is called politely distant.

Simply not be vile to one another doesn't equate to friendship, but just good, positive co-parenting.

Perhaps I think of friendship on a deeper level than most.

I have plenty of people I get along with, appreciate their personality, and even associate with on a social level... but nothing deep or meaningful. These are called associates, and although I appreciate them, they are not in the friend category until I actively seek emotional or physical companionship (no, not sex, just physical presence... just felt the need to clarify given today's "tinder" mentality) from them. 

Since actively seeking emotional or physical companionship from an ex is completely inappropriate and confusing for all parties involved, I don't see why it should be encouraged or even allowed.

I am getting the feeling that your definition of friendship is not actual friendship but includes shallow acquaintances as well.

hereiam's picture

What is his definition of being "friendly" vs being "polite"? Does he want to be her confidant? Hang out together? Have family dinners together? I think polite is fine.

As far as the SD being a mini wife, they don't create themselves, he should get that under control while she's young or she will be an absolute nightmare as she gets older.

Cogito Ergo Sum's picture

SO gets along with BM's SO & approves of him being around his kids, so they all like the idea of sitting together at SK events & occasionally, dinner as a group... Me included. That kinda thing, he doesn't fix her car or have deep chats, it's not that familiar. He wants me to want to come along - he doesn't want to spend time with her alone. I'm not that girl, so, we have work to do.

Oh & agreed, regarding SD, she already acts like a teenager & she's 9. He is really stepping up there, he knows it's best for her, but old habits die hard. I haven't lost hope... Yet.

tog redux's picture

OP - you are the one whose SO wants you to take a camping trip with BM and her BF/DH, right? That is way beyond what should be expected of a new GF.  Friendly? Fine. Sitting together at games/performances? Fine. Going to joint dinners for big events? Maybe. Vacationing together? HARD NO.

I'm going to beg to differ with you when you say BM is not high conflict. If she has Golden Uterus Syndrome, then she's high conflict.  She may not be showing her claws right now because SO goes along with her wish to be besties. If he sets limits on it, you will see her High Conflict side.

Stand up for yourself here.  He can't expect many women are going to accept going camping with the ex-wife. It's beyond the pale. 

Cogito Ergo Sum's picture

That camping fiasco didn't go ahead but yes, that was me & my dysfunctional life, SO actually apologised for suggesting it before I said anything which is something.

Interesting comments on the HC BM, you could very well have a point, I find myself comparing her to other BM's on here & she seems downright angelic & sane but I do know there are issues there & I'm glad you pointed this out.

I have always set my boundaries when it comes to what I'm willing to go along with, what we need to discuss & what is out of the question but at this stage, 3yrs in, he needs to know this for himself & not even bring those outlandish (read: camping) suggestions to my attention. I need us to be moving forward & that's what brings us to now.

hereiam's picture

Oh my God, vacationing with the ex. I, no, my DH, would rather have a bee hive fall on his face.