Have you ever thought about what your stepcouple relationship would be like if you didn’t obsess about the EX? Ever think about the power she (or he) has in your life and the energy she uses? Does your relationship feel more like a threesome than an intimate twosome? Do you find yourselves as a couple colluding in anger against HER (or HIM? And when you look at your stepkids, do you resent how much they look like and act like HER?
If that’s the case, the ex is a DISTANCER and DISTRACTOR in your stepcouple relationship. And you are letting it happen.
The truth is, the EX is yesterday’s news. It’s an old, out of date relationship! Isn’t it time to move on? Time to reconstruct? Now I’m not saying it’s easy or even that you want to. It’s much easier, and it feels much better to be angry at the ex and keep her in a hostile place in your heart. It’s amazing how the stepcouple preys on that negative energy against her. The kids pick up on it and feel torn, confused and angry. No one benefits.
There are many emotional reasons why this is common and hard to change. First there’s jealousy. No new wife or stepmother likes to accept that her partner loved someone else and had a child with HER. That’s a bitter pill. Feeling second fiddle, they have doubts about the strength of the stepcouple’s love and commitment to each other. They also feel inferior because they are not the “real” moms. Stepmoms tend to demonize the ex to feel better about themselves
Another reason why there’s hostility between the stepcouple and the ex is because some exspouses are frankly NOT healthy, happy, or stable people. Many have problems with current life issues and relationships, past and present. Some are unreliable, drug and alcohol affected, angry, and unfulfilled people. Often the new stepcouple bears the brunt of these unresolved emotional problems… sad to say.
I can’t tell you the HORROR STORIES I’ve heard over the years of problems with exes. My job is to help the stepcouple grow in their partnership in spite of the problems with the ex. The stronger the stepcouple, the more support and love they have to raise his, hers and their children. Hopefully over time, the heat and anger with the ex will settle down.
I repeat WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE EX? Is it time to move on and focus on your stepcouple, the kids, and anything else that comes up in today’s stressful world that needs your attention?
Addendum: This is not to say that you should in any way ignore or drop your obligations to preserve the relationship between the ex and her (or his) biological children.
Licensed Professional Counselor
January 26, 2010