Listening to my husband explain about his ex when we were dating really went in one ear and out the other. You see, I was divorced, and I knew the dad’s side of things and my side of things. Many people disliked me because of the dad’s side which was so far from the truth that it made me disregard some of what my husband was sharing. In past posts I have written the level of hatred he has for her, and while I do not share that with him – I do feel a immense dislike! However that came over time. I have always been the kind of person who gives the benefit of the doubt to the underdog.
Granted she did not like me at first, which I expected and prepared myself for. After all, I had been in her shoes, and am not afraid to admit suffered from the fear that I too could be replaced in my kids life by their step-mom. Benefit-of -the-doubt in my eyes can mend many situations – so I tried to approach her with such. At some point the relationship between my husband and his ex-wife went downhill pretty terribly and my husband said that he wanted all communication to go through me as he couldn’t manage a normal, adult, calm conversation. She was less than thrilled and adamantly refused such an obnoxious go around and so on. After listening to her from the other side of the phone – yelling and screaming – I took the phone. Very calmly I introduced myself more clearly, informed her of my age, my children, their ages and that I was not some twenty-something girl who was gonna bail in a couple of months and that she could rest assured that I want the best for their son. You could tell she did not like my stepping in, and to be honest I can’t say I had the right to do so – but I did. For a little while following that things were better.
Then one lovely sun-shining day at our normal pickup location she was mad! And, let me clarify what mad means in our world – it includes but is not limited to getting out of her car – slamming her car door, arms folded, face grimaced, body swaying from hair to feet, and on a mission pace right to your face – yes literally into your face – with the finger-pointing and screaming to accompany it. Well, this being my first altercation and both my lack of filter and anger that she was pulling this crap in front of not only her child but my other two as well – I was less than pleased. Probably again one of those moments I should have just duct taped my mouth shut – but instead I swung open my door and very sternly but politely informed her that she can say whatever she wants to him in privacy – however in-front of the kids this will not be tolerated – and that her language wasn’t appreciated – then got back into the car. My husband joined me and we left.
In these two instances, I learned something from this woman. First, is that since my husband was/is younger he had still been in that dating phase, and had his fair share of fun – after her of course. This created a concern as it would with any mother, that her son would create a bond with someone who wouldn’t be staying long-term. This I completely understood and sympathized with. The second was, it was clear in their relationship she wasn’t an equal – because my husband getting into the car with me, and allowing my say – put her almost in shock. She didn’t know what to say or how to do it. Again for a little while we got a long. They needed to re-do their current parenting plan for holidays and such so, she and I went back and forth with what worked and what days she wanted, then I went with her to the court-house and even helped her file it. When she didn’t have the money to help her file it, I helped her fill out the court form that waives it. She was thankful and polite. I saw a light at the end of this dangerous, curvy tunnel.
Somewhere between March and May of the next year she decided she wanted to hate us both again and somewhere during that time, I let her. I figured I gave my best shot, I tried and now I was done. My dreams of having a home where everyone could get along, where birthdays and holidays could be shared for the sake of the kids was sadly tossed out the car window one day and that was that.
When my husband and I got back from getting married, we had to pick up my new step-son the day after we got back. I do not believe that he mentioned we were getting married – because we agreed that we would address it when we returned. Well apparently Facebook addressed it before we could 🙂 As we pull up she is waiting with little guy on her hip and one hand on her other hip, like a mom who just found you skipped school. My husband gets out of the car and she pushes by him still with kiddo on her hip, bends over and says “I guess I owe you an apology – I didn’t think he would actually marry you”. Looking at her in that moment I realized all those stories he had shared with me was true, and all that benefit of the doubt I prepared for her was a waste of my time. She was a young, mad at the world girl and there was nothing I could do to change that. Honestly thinking back now I don’t even remember what I said in response – if anything, maybe I just looked at her with confusion and sadness for her.
I think a lot of times the mother of these children we love, isn’t the way she is because they worry we are a bad mother or good mother. In fact I don’t think it has anything to do with the kids, or us sometimes. Sometimes, it’s just them – their insecurities, inadequacies, and the reminder every time they see our husbands that they failed at making the family work. A family that we are now nurturing, raising and building together.
When you look back at the first time you met the ex – do you feel it was personal against you – or just personal for her??