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Blending or Confusing?

bonusfamnovice's picture

Quick set up: 

There is a little girl with divorced parents  

There's an ex-husband remarried; bonus mom no kids

There's an ex-wife with live-in boyfriend; boyfriend has a daughter same age as little girl; boyfriend has an ex-wife (with boyfriend and his son, same age) who is still highly involved in his life. 

My question is this: how far do we blend? 
I ask because of this: Ex wife prefers that ex-husband, bonus mom, daughter all co-mingle and plan activities as a klan with her boyfriend's ex and boyfriend. For the ex husband who shows up for his daughter 1000%, this becomes convoluted and he reports daughter gets anxious and withdrawn when everyone and their respective exes, boyfriends, wife, and kids are all hanging out together. He reports confusion about sisters, brother, cousins, etc. I just wonder at what point does he need to go along with this or does this style of blending even sound healthy? It's now reached a point that making plans for his daughter means that his ex check with her boyfriend, his ex and her boyfriend, who try to plan everything around when the kids can be together at the same time. He feels like he's now blending with his ex's new fam more than anything. 

interested to know if anyone else has experienced this and can weigh in. (Children are 5-6; divorces were 2-3 years ago.) 

Aunt Agatha's picture

The ex wife is way too controling it seems.  Personally, this would not be the relationship for me.

Is this what you want?

ldvilen's picture

This stmt. proves it.  "It's now reached a point that making plans for his daughter means that his ex check with her boyfriend, his ex and her boyfriend, who try to plan everything around when the kids can be together at the same time. He feels like he's now blending with his ex's new fam more than anything."  The dad is not happy with this arrangement either, it appears.

What does dad want?  If he simply wants to spend time with his daughter, alone and he is not permitted to do so, that's nuts.  And, why does dad go along with that if he is not happy with the arrangement?  I don't blame the daughter for being PO'd.

There is a saying about how the people in a group can quickly get reduced to its lowest common denominator.  That means if you have 20 clueless people, the nonsense and acceptance of the nonsense can take over.  I think that is what may be happening here.  Everyone is assuming that everyone else is OK with this arrangement, when there may really only be one that likes it, a/k/a the ex-wife.

shellpell's picture

Completely ridiculous. Child now has two separate families, not one big extended family. We never do or did anything with the ex. 

Rags's picture

The blend starts and ends at the door to your home.

Keep it simple.

Your SO's X and her BF are not part of your blended family.


Curious Georgetta's picture

have the right to decide how they want to coparent. Who knows,   these people may love their daughter enough and may be mature enough to make it work.

If If does not work, the parents can change the arrangement. It is not likely to be the only change in this child's life,but having parents who can reach agreements that work for them should be a plus for the parents and the child.  I would imagine that many things will evolve through trial and error.

fakemommy's picture

If everyone is okay with the arrangement, I dont see a problem. I have a friend who went to visitation with her step siblings and would also visit her step siblings', step siblings' family. This family really all works together and is a family together for the kids. One guy has remarried 3 times, one woman at least twice and all of the sexes and families act as one big family. It doesn't work if everyone isn't treated equally though.

ESMOD's picture

The EX is asking too much if not everyone is comfortable. The Bonus mom should try to figure out how to NOT use that sacharine term for being a stepmother.  I think it's an affectation and honestly can be confusing to the kids because sometimes these bonus moms come and go.

It's great if everyone gets along well, but that is just too convoluted of a situation to be able to manage it well.  These people left their EXes for a REASON.  No need to continually fake playing nicee nice with each other.  

I mean, sure, will be great if they can both attend their kid's activities and see each other without stabbing each other with a fork to the eye.. but no forced joint parties and get togethers.

bonusfamnovice's picture

I'm a family member and I appreciate the insight. Dad and stepmom have communicated their feelings but mom shames them for not wanting to be "team players." But while everyone can be pleasant in the presence of the kids, the relationships otherwise are not social and are not always great. They do well with communicating and scheduling/sharing essential shared custodial matters for the child but there is not a desire otherwise to socialize together. I just wondered if this was more the norm than we realize because to us (our family) it only seems to add issue and uncomfortable and confusing situations and boundaries for the child, who now wants to know why we don't want to get together for Christmas dinner with mom, her bf, AND bf's ex and her bf....because she doesn't want to be the only kid without her dad there. Otherwise when such gatherings are had, the child as I said acts as if she doesn't know what to do and often withdraws to the point of refusing to smile or be in group photos without protest and she will not allow anyone to hug her or show affection at those times. It just doesn't seem healthy yet we don't want to not be "team players" if experts are out there suggesting this be the new healthy norm for blended families. Meanwhile, mom complains to us about her bf's ex but then chums it up with her like long lost besties when these gatherings take place. They were recently invited to all go to the movies together and declined; but that left a sour taste in mom's mouth. It's very distorted and not easy to navigate. 

ldvilen's picture

Everyone is getting so delusional about divorce and its after effects lately that society is currently getting off on promoting divorce = happily ever after over marriage = happily ever after.  As someone said on another topic, “Someone came up with that idea, others agreed without really thinking about it or because it fit their agenda, and now if you disagree you'll have people jumping all over you for being immature or jealous, etc. because that's not the ‘right’ thing.”

Imagine you can get a divorce and still live happily ever after!?  All you have to do is pretend everyone is on board with it, including the children.  Why!  There are even divorce vacays now!?

However, a big problem with all of these post-divorce antics is that very few, if any,take into consideration the new boyfriend or girlfriend or SO or spouse.  Don't they have the right to a normal BF, GF, SO or spouse?  Because, I can assure you, if all of us new BFs, GFs, SOs or spouses are expected to suck it up and take it and let any and all play happy family every chance they get (which, let's face it, 99 times out of 100 that means mom and dad = THE real one-and-only couple), then all of us need to know that so we can kick any potential future seperated or divorced partners to the curb.  No one wants a sloppy-seconds relationship, much less marriage.

I think the dad here needs to take the bull by the horns and just, even if he has to do it legally, set up his own plans for his daughter.  Sure, parents need to communicate about parent-things, but they don't need to be running every "date" with any of their kids by each other.  That's just plain nonsense.  Children, especially young children, don't handle 'sometimes' and 'maybe' very well.  They respond better to just plain Yes or No.  So, if mom and dad got a divorce, for example, and yet mingle like the good ol' days, this is going to come across to them as sometimes mom and dad are divorced and sometimes mom and dad are married.  How can any child even begin to move forward with that!?

Dad and stepmom are the intelligent ones here.  The other so-called Team Players are just scared (of the ex-, perhaps?) and playing along.

bonusfamnovice's picture

Thank you for this. I agree but I was and am open to other perspectives if they make sense for psychological and emotional health of children in these situations. I'm just struggling to find that reason but you accurately summed up my feelings on this. 

Thumper's picture

We dont "do" Bonus Mom titles on here.

You may be on the wrong site.

WE are our husbands wives or wives husbands and step parents.

Just wanted to clear that up. Wink



hereiam's picture

My DH divorced his ex so that he would NOT have to be around her, anymore. No more holidays, birthdays, or family dinners together.

Being cordial when having to be in the presence of an ex is one thing, purposely planning outings and events with an ex is quite another, and frankly, weird.

And, I don't believe it's necessarily emotionally heathy for the children of divorce.

I would never be with a man who wanted to include his ex in everything. Stay married to her, then.

Blending, in step families, refers to the two partners and their respective kids blending together, not blending with the exes and their new partners. Peaceful co-exisiting when necessary is great, but no blending/mingling is needed.