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Acknowledging my insecurities over BM

mshilton16's picture

Ok. First off, this is a hard thing for me to write about. I'm a prideful person so this is something I have had a hard time even admitting to myself, but it's clear I have a problem: I’m insecure and resentful over BM.

SS11 got suspended from school for his disrespect last Friday so BM called a meeting with myself, DH, my MIL & FIL, and of course her and her own husband. Prior to this meeting I found myself in my bathroom, fixing my hair, washing my face and carefully and thoughtfully applying my makeup. I was trying hard to feel like I looked my best. There was a moment where I stopped and wondered why? What was I doing to myself and why in the world was I freaking out like this? Remembering back, I have done this for every occasion and event that I know I will see BM. I don't care to even put this sort of effort into going to the store or work, yet every time before I see her I feel the need to look my absolute best. What is that?!

BM and I do get along. She's even gone as far as to tell DH she "loves" me, but I still distrust her around DH. Their marriage ended due to a lot of infidelity on her part and she's always been borderline inappropriate with him. She’ll find reasons to touch him i.e. asking him if he wants some candy while at a trick-or-treating event, then awkwardly hitting his arm because he said no to her. I've dreaded dropping off SS at her house because she'll walk outside in mini-shorts/ low cut revealing tops and prance around in front of DH. She's blonde and blue eyed, big-breasted and curvy, (the complete opposite of me) but is never someone I'd care to even take a second look at. Now that she's my husband's ex-wife, however, I find myself mindlessly studying her whenever I'm around her. 

Although their marriage was short-lived, BM's name has always been praised rather highly in my home. Of course by my SS who's her own biological kid, but also by my SD17 who is not hers. Everyone (except DH) adores her, including my FIL & MIL. DH claims he can't stand her, but they were "friends" for the "sake of SS" up until a few months into our marriage. I eventually snapped and told him I was uncomfortable with them being so close, so DH has made it a point to keep any convo only about SS and only when it's necessary. That definetely helped, but it still hasn't eliminated this feeling.   

So there I was at this meeting. Sitting across from BM (who's wearing a tight fitted top and red-hot spandex shorts leaving nothing to the imagination) and as I looked at her all I could think to myself is that I wanted to end it all. Divorce rushed through my mind; I was ready to leave and just end the freaking madness. End this feeling inside of me of being inferior to this woman and just go back to living my care-free simple life. I hate that I've allowed my self-esteem to be compromised by her. I hate that I have built up resentment towards my husband over marrying her. I don't have any kids of my own, so there's always been an enormous insecurity there, knowing that she shares something with him that I don't.

I've never been the jealous type and I've especially never been one to compare myself to a boyfriends ex -- but then again, I've never had any of their exes be in my life like this. I do love myself and I’m typically a very confident person, except for when I’m around BM.  Does anyone else struggle with insecurities over the ex? Has anyone been able to overcome them? I fear that her presence in my life is going to be the death of my marriage if I don't get a grip on this soon. Any advice?


tog redux's picture

Ugh, this is way too much BM contact for me. I've said about 10 words to BM in 10 years and 5 of them were "hello".  While I'm all for co-parenting, this takes it to a ridiculous level.  I wouldn't participate in all this phony togetherness, myself. It's DH's job to co-parent, not yours, and you don't have to be at every single event together. 

Seems to me like boundaries needed to be shored up a bit here.  

mshilton16's picture

I agree completely, it's way too much!! DH get's sad when I don't want to go or participate, but is that really my issue? BM also really wants me involved. Originally she wanted the meeting the afternoon but because I was working, she moved it to the evening so that I could be there. I really would love to say "Not my circus, not my monkeys" and just disengage from everything do to with her completely. Just not sure how feasible that really is. 

tog redux's picture

Why isn't it feasible? Why does DH expect that of you? It's not your kid. You aren't the parent.  I think if you go to a few events here and there, you are doing fine.

Seems to me this whole dynamic sets you and BM in some kind of weird competition that you can't ever win, because you aren't really the parent.  Yes, you are the wife, but since your SS is the center of everything here, BM has an edge as "mom".  And you are just an observer (and an unwilling one). 

I say you let DH know this is too much togetherness and that you will go to some events but not all.  Then go about your own life without SS being the center of it all. 

mshilton16's picture

I'm not sure why he expects this of me, but he definetly does. I didn't attend SS's birthday party because BM planned it I didn't want to endure a day of being around her. I had to work that day anyway, so instead of showing up in the middle of the party I just went home after my shift. I got a bunch of guilt and was told that SS expected me to be there. (I don't think he even noticed).  DH always makes it about SS though and he longs for the two of us to be close, but we just arent. Like you said, BM and I are set up to be in some weird type of competition and I feel like SS feels that.

I long to just be free of her and go about my life. Thank you for your advice, it really brings some clarity to this situation. I will tell DH that this is too much involvment for me, my sanity and happiness is worth more.  

tog redux's picture

I went to some of SS's games and school concerts with DH - but we didn't have to sit with BM.  In our case, it was all very high -conflict so there was no pretending to co-parent after the first year or so.  But even if they had been able to co-parent, that doesn't mean they have to do every stinkin' thing together. 

You are being expected to be in BM's staff here, she can summon you to a meeting whenever she pleases. She may be in charge where SS goes for DH (because he allows it) but she's not in charge of you.

ChzyBob20's picture

Number of words I've spoken to BowelMovement: 0. No phone calls. No texts. No emails. No social medias.

I've ghosted her from my existence. She is a reprehensible human being and I want no part of that, ever. Yuck.

hereiam's picture

Agree with Tog. I've been with my DH for 23 years, seen BM about twice during that time.

BM called a meeting with myself, DH, my MIL & FIL, and of course her and her own husband.

Haha! Sorry, I'm just trying to imagine BM over here calling a meeting and expecting me to be there.

Seeing her at an actual event of your SS's every now and then is one thing, attending some "family" meeting that BM calls to order, is another.

If your DH wants to attend said meeting, fine, he can relay any pertinent info to you that concerns your household.

tog redux's picture

Yes, exactly - BM is allowed to be Queen Bee here, and OP is expected to be another drone.  My DH would have laughed at being summoned to a meeting and I sure as hell would not have gone. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

THIS. THIS is the source of the insecurity. When you can't be an equal in your own relationship because your spouse has kept his ex on a pedestal, there is no way you CANNOT feel insecure!

OP, your husband is the problem. I appreciate that he and his ex have the ability to communicate civilly, but they are divorced. He needs to find his voice as an equal parent to his kids, and that includes deciding what needs to be filtered down to you and his parents. He's letting BM keep the reigns and dictate to everyone else how to care for his child, and that allows her to pull the reigns of your relationship as well.

BM doesn't sound like she's purposefully trying to overstep (maybe she is, I don't know her). She just sounds spoiled and like she gets her way. It's not a nicety to move a meeting to a time when you aren't at work, because it means she's STILL dictating that you participate. And your husband isn't saying "BM, we'll handle this just you and I, and I'll inform OP later tonight". He's giving her permission to rope you in!

Here's the conversation that you need to have with your DH:

"DH, I love you, but I'm only married to you. I expect you, as the parent to your son, to handle the co-parenting with BM without me having to tag along. I'm not given an option if a night is good for me to meet, or a voice in the meetings I attend. It puts me in a position where I now have responsibility without any authority over it. You allow BM to dictate everything, including my time, and that is unacceptable. You need to be the one to decide if my presence is needed, not BM, and you need to ASK if I want to attend. And you need to be able to stand up for your rights as a father and for your son without me as a buffer. I shouldn't be the buffer for the uncomfortableness you feel around your XW; YOU are supposed to be my buffer shielding me from her since she is SS's mother.

I am not saying that I dislike SS or even dislike BM. But I'm feeling very out of control of my time, and of our time together, due to you not putting up boundaries with BM and allowing her to dictate all we do. You two should be working together and you should be representing the interests of our home and balancing that with what is needed for SS. How BM and her husband operate are different than how we operate, and any workable plan for SS has to include nuances for both homes. You allowing BM to dictate it all means that we have to conform to her life or the plan for SS doesn't work. And it's absolutely not fair to ask me to conform to the lifestyle of your XW.

When you took me on as a partner, it was in addition to your responsibilities as a parent. I am not here to split that reaponsibility with you. I am willing to help you out because I love you, but I'm not beholden to be a parent to your son just because we are married. I want what is best for him and for our family, but WE dictate that, not BM."

He won't like this and will likely just go on a tear about how you're jealous and don't like his son and he may as well divorce you. You have to be willing to say "okay, if you aren't happy with me as a wife and don't want to work with me on a solution that meets both our needs, then maybe this isn't the relationship for you." That will likely stop him in his tracks.

He either wants to make it work with you and will start putting up boundaries that protect you, or he's going to actually ask for a divorce. If he asks for a divorce, then he wasn't actually looking for a wife. He was looking for someone to fill in where his ex left a hole. You can tell him that you don't expect him to not go to these meetings, but you don't need to be at all of them and he needs to make it clear to his family that it's okay if you aren't.

mshilton16's picture

You're right. I think I've allowed him to expect way more of me as a wife than should be. I believe he's always expected me to step into a role as just the "mom" in my house. I know he's sad that his marriages have failed and he feels guilt over that, especially because SS let's him know that he hates having to switch back and forth between homes. So he longs for a white picket fence home with mom & kids. But it's not realistic in this situation. 

Im ready to take your advice and tell DH these things, but it's not going to be pretty. I can see him getting his feelings hurt and taking it personal that I don't want to be so involved anymore. Parent Teacher Conferences are coming up and after this post I've already decided there is no way I am going. 

ChzyBob20's picture

He is using you. He uses his "fee-fees" to control you. Simply state:

"I'm not their mother. Never have been and never will be. Henceforth, I will not be taking any responsibility for children I have not birthed nor adopted." Let him "get upset." If he actually values you as his WIFE and not his unpaid nanny he will make YOU a priority and not his ex 

classyNJ's picture

I did see DBDB alot due to sporting events and her feeling the need to sit right next to us!

I did at one time feel the same as you.  But I just told myself that I am the shit!  I am the queen of my home and my DH loves and adores ME.  Even after my illness and the 40 pound weight gain after, he still loves me and she is his Ex.  

Keep on double checking your makeup and hair if it helps you, but at the same time you tell yourself that you are with him, not her!  Never compare yourself to her.  You are better than that! Your DH chose you!

Harry's picture

She calls a meeting and everyone runs to her.  She is the parent who has SS the majority of time.  She is not doing anything to parent her kid to be a normal person.  What are you going to do? SS is not going go listen to you.   Really what is MIL or FIL going to do ? 
just BM making everybody come at her instructions.  I would not go. Let the parents deal with there kid.  
I mean she did such a great Job with SD 

mshilton16's picture

I regret that I've blindly allowed her to have this much control in my life. It's well past due for me to set some boundaries and move on with my life. No more "family" meetings for me! 

Thank you, Harry, and everyone else that's opened my eyes to this. Not sure what I've been thinking. 

tog redux's picture

We women tend to be fixers and pleasers in relationships, but this is just too much! I'm sure BM enjoys this level of control and being in charge.

mshilton16's picture

Yes. I'm sure she's been eating it up, much to my dismay. 

I've been trying to please DH and thought I was fulfilling my "step-mom duties" by going and being supportive... but I've sacrificed my sanity in the meantime. No more! 


tog redux's picture

I'm guessing once you pull back, DH will cut back on dancing to BM's tune as well.  He also doesn't need to do so much.  Who calls a family meeting because of a school suspension?

futurobrillante99's picture

And it won't be as much fun for DH if the triangle is incomplete. He'll just be sitting with the same cheating Ho that he dumped and he won't have two women looking their best trying to win the prize (him). The game will be boring.

But I expect he will guilt trip you big time. It's an effective tool of manipulation.

When he tries, you can say, "My dear, you're an excellent father and I have complete faith in you to handle this situation. Love you. I'm off to the gym."

Gimlet's picture

Oh she's going to get pushback from everyone.  BM, DH, in-laws.  She is filling a role for all of them and they aren't going to like her setting boundaries and no longer taking things off their plates or serving their purposes.

BethAnne's picture

I agree, this is not something that is going to happen without being noticed.

Sadly people think that women should naturally want to be maternal  and take on mothering roles and please everybody. When you refuse to do that you will be acused of being cold and unloving and of being a bad person, especially as it is a change in behvior that you have exhibited up until now.

Stay strong OP, it will be worth the backlash but it probably won't be pretty in the short term. 

mshilton16's picture

Bam!! Yep, I love that. Honey, deal with your situation, I'm off to the gym to focus on bettering me. 

hereiam's picture

Well, let me enlighten you on "step mom" duties. There are none. BM is alive, your DH married you for you, not to provide his son with a mom, he has one. You do what you feel is appropriate when it comes to your SS, what you want to do, not what anyone else thinks you should do. He has two parents.

tog redux's picture

Yep. I sat in the hall once when BM and DH had a school meeting. Can't remember why I was even there, must have been a different school event that day as well.  It wasn't my place to be involved in that. 

mshilton16's picture

I dread parent teacher conferences because it's just another meeting that I have to be around BM. There's been times where DH is working so I've had to take SS by myself and sit with her. Why did I ever agree to get so involved?

Yeah, no wonder she loves me so much and I'm over here contemplating divorce. I've been completely clueless to the lack of boundaries I've had for myself. 

hereiam's picture

If your husband was working, BM could have taken SS herself, as she is the parent. She then could have filled your DH, the other parent, in on what went on.

They are both trying to foist parental responsibilities onto you that are NOT yours.

ETA: I do believe that teachers will schedule separate parent-teacher conferences these days.

ChzyBob20's picture

I have nothing whatsoever to do with StepPoop's education anymore. I would fall down laughing if my DH ASSpected me to take his prior brat to anything. He knows I don't do that sh!t anymore.

hereiam's picture

You're obviously a nice person, just trying to get along, but it really isn't your circus and you don't need to be involved with every little thing, if you don't want to be. BM is not a third person in your marriage.

Get your bitch on! Not really, you don't have to be a bitch, but once you set some boundaries and stick to them, you might be thought of as such. That's okay, that is their issue. Nothing wrong with boundaries in your life to keep you sane (and keep you from thinking about divorce).

You will get some pushback, since you've been going along with it for so long. Just stand your ground.

tog redux's picture

I'm guessing she will get lots of pushback because BM "looooves" her.  BM loves having control over everyone, is what she loves. 

futurobrillante99's picture

Women like BM LOVE to have all eyes on them. They are the master orchestrators of attention. She dresses for it AND she getes a rush from you looking your best when around her. She knows that you up your game and that makes her feel powerful. You're also being unwittingly drawn into a game of triangulation. Your DH is guilting you into being involved in ALL skid garbage and to have to deal with the BM.

1. Go back to being your carefree, natural self.

2. Tell DH to pound sand when he lays guilt trips on you. He's allowing you to be triangulated with him and BM. You don't have to participate. On some level, your DH might like that BM is still trying to attract him and you're jumping through hoops to up your appearance.

3. Only go to things YOu want to go to and don't interact with BM. She's "easy to get along with" so you will seem jealous when you don't like her subtle shenanigans. She's trying to coparent, ya know! Yeah, she's getting cheap thrills over both you and DH being at her big-boobed beck and call.

4. Know that she's an attention whore and a......whore who cheated on your DH. Her need for pinup girl attention is pathetic.

5. Just say NO! You don't have to do a damn thing you don't want to do. You are a woman whose main responsibility is herself followed by her spouse. But that doesn't mean you have to make yourself uncomfortable to make him happy.

mshilton16's picture

I needed to hear all of the above, thank you. Saving this for future reference as well, I'm sure I'll need it next time I get a text from BM.  

Gimlet's picture

Agree with all of what FB wrote.

I think another reason BMs like to include the SM is diffusion of responsibility.  It's another adult to pull into the conversation about a kid's problems and another person to help shoulder the burden.  The thing is, you are not his parent.  He has two parents who should be able to communicate without a f*cking family meeting to handle the issues.

Stop texting with her.  You don't have kids with this woman.

mshilton16's picture

Wow. I never thought about it like that, but you're absolutely right. I'm being used here. I'm done texting her. Thank you

hereiam's picture

Know that she's an attention whore and a......whore who cheated on your DH. Her need for pinup girl attention is pathetic.

This ^^^^ BM is the insecure one.

Gimlet's picture

Absolutely.  People who dress for attention and feel the need to command attention from others are almost always very insecure.

ChzyBob20's picture

BowelMovement is...BowelMovement. Me and DH erected and enforced boundaries. No school meetings, no favors, no sob stories, no hanging out. 

BowelMovement has, at least for now, given up. Thank God.

How old is your DuH's wh*re ex? Dressing like a prostitute is going to look hilarious once she hits the "wall" (with her face.)

mshilton16's picture

No... her record is clean in that aspect. In fact, she works for CPS so DH is scared she has more control to take SS for that reason..

thinkthrice's picture

The Girhippo worked for CPS then had a stint as a waitress to artificially lower her income to try to get SD into Community College and extend CS which blew up in her face.  SD19 lasted about 6 weeks max before dropping out of her remedial High School classes.

then she went back to working for a not-for-profit foster home where she counsels other parents how to raise children!!

You have one of those sham "pillar of her community" BMs although I'm thinking she likes to act as MOTY yet her kids are probably out of control due to lack of real parenting.

I think you mentioned there is only one skid which is better than average when you have multiple skids.

If I had to have a choice of having a BM in my life, I'd rather have one who is a drug addict miscreant jailbird then one who acts like citizen of the year and the people surrounding her buy her act.

Coming up next she will blame her shoddy ( let me guess befriending)  parenting on some sort of disability of SS and start to doctor shop/ get him an IEP.  And of course blame skid's behavior on the break up itself aka DH and subsequently you.  

She's acting as mother of the year because she needs to smoke screen her infidelity to son's father.

mshilton16's picture

Yes, this! She very much acts like MOTY and of course, all her schooling in children's psychology has given her a degree to be just that. 

SeeYouNever's picture

I think BMs like this bother us because we can't help but think about our husbands once loving and having sex and procreating with them. Ugh! What and uncomfortable thought.

The thing is your husband doesn't look at her and think she is hot and sexy, he probably thinks about all those other dudes she was banging and how disgusting she is for it. 

My husband's ex is exactly the same, she projects this perfect life and acts like my DH did her wrong when he cheated on him constantly. 

You have your husband's trust, that is something she never will. He isn't nice to her because he likes her, he just coparents how she wants so he can see his kids. 

AlmostGone83's picture

All of these events/meetings sound exhausting. I wouldn't be bothered to attend a single one. If your DuH wants to go and get mauled by Spandex Barbie, tell him to have at it but you will be pursuing other interests. Life is too short to spend even a single hour in one of her staff meetings. 

Tell your husband that if she thinks you're gonna be at her beck and call then the Spandex must be cutting off the blood supply to her brain and someone better go get the damn jaws of life. 


thinkthrice's picture

has watched too many Brady Bunch reruns and is subscribing to the  mythical "One Big Happy Family" model as BM conducts this kabuki theatre.

Its funny how men can "forgive" all that infidelity from their former partner for the "sake of the children" (TM)  yet women never do.

lieutenant_dad's picture

OP, I wrote above what I think the root cause of this is, but I wanted to tell you down here that I get where you're coming from.

It's hard to compete with BM, especially if you don't have kids of your own. You're not sure if you're doing things right, and some BMs never really let go of that familiarity with their XH. They still act flirty and giggly, like they still own a small piece of their ex. It's even more infuriating when they do this and you know they cheated (and likely wonder if the kid is even your husband's).

I suffered from very low self-esteem when DH and I first got together (thanks XH), and I felt very insecure about my place with DH. BM is what I like to call an eternal teenager, and even though I *know* there isn't anything wrong with me and that I'm better at adulting than her, I *still* felt like she could take DH back if she asked nicely enough.

So I acted much like you did. I primped before school concerts, I made every meal for the kids from scratch, I watched my language, dressed nicer than I should, tried to be uber fake sweet with BM, etc. My "SM persona" was very Stepford wife because I felt that I had to be better than BM for the sake of my SSs and to keep DH loyal to me.

I broke about 4 years into our relationship (2 years married and living together), and DH begged me to stop prerending to be someone I wasn't. I'm t-shirts and jeans. I swear like a sailor. I hate cooking. I'm a nerd. I'm a feminist. I'm a hard worker. I am the right kind of curvy for him. THAT is who DH fell in love with, and THAT is who he wanted by his side.

Me acting more like me actually made me feel more secure and more in control of my relationship with DH. I wasn't playing a part to impress the boys or compete with BM's mothering. I'm not the mom, but that doesn't mean I can't be a good influence. That doesn't mean I am somehow beneath BM.

I've missed concerts and drop offs, and BM has judged me for it. So what? I go when I can to support the SSs. I do other things to show them and DH that I care. BM has far bigger problems that she needs to worry about than whether I'm somewhere or doing something. Her kids know I care about them even if I'm not there.

Taking back who I am also gave me confidence to let DH know when things weren't working for me and made me feel secure that I could be alone if I had to be. It would suck, but it wouldn't end my world. There is a lot of power in being the one to put value on yourself versus letting others do it for you.

So, follow what I said above and start with a conversation with your husband. Next time there is a thing for Little Johnny, just say no to going. Or go in YOUR favorite outfit with YOUR favorite primping (or lack thereof; I haven't worn makeup in literal months). If your DH threatens your marriage, then it was based on false pretenses and wasn't going to last anyway.

I'm giving you the permission you won't give yourself to just be you. If someone doesn't like you for who you are, even your husband, that's their problem that they can sort out elsewhere.

mshilton16's picture

That's powerful advice, thank you so much for sharing. Finding worth and value in myself and being true to myself is something I'm definitely working on!