Stepparents, Remarriage, New Partners and such…

Finding out that your ex partner has remarried can be a sad experience

To anyone going through a custody battle, understand that it will hurt like hell when your ex gets married. Even if it’s been years since you were together and the breakup was for the best, seeing your ex marry someone else is hard. Rest assured, you will find someone else. If your fear is that you will spend your life alone while they enjoy a happy family, fear not. First of all, if you want to find someone else to share your life with, you will. Don’t feel you need to hurry and get into a new relationship just because they did. Don’t pressure your girlfriend/boyfriend to marry you just because your ex has married.

You may feel displaced by the new spouse and feel they have taken your place as your children’s new parent. Don’t be afraid of this. Often the mind can create situations that are far removed from reality. You may imagine this happy smiling family (minus you) and your child gazing lovingly as his new “mother” or swinging happily on the swings with her new “father.” This is often not the case. Your ex and his new family have the same problems as any other family. They get stressed at work, they get angry at each other, they feel lonely sometimes, just as you do. Your children may like this new “stepparent.” This is okay. As a matter of fact, this is a good thing. Nothing is worse for a child than feeling like they are unwanted. Think of it this way–your ex is going to be in a relationship or marriage with this other person whether you like it or not. Would you rather that partner treat your child in a mean and cruel way, making him feel insecure and sad? Or would you rather they be a good friend to your child, making them feel wanted and included? It may be a hard pill to swallow, but your child may like the stepparent.

But if you remember nothing else, remember this:

YOUR CHILD WILL NEVER LOVE ANOTHER PERSON THE WAY THEY LOVE YOU.  This is especially true for mothers. You share a bond with your child that nobody can break. You carried that child in your womb and you have a special bond that is virutally unbreakable. No amount of time or absence will change that. With my older child, I remember being able to sense when she was upset, even when I was at work and she was at daycare. When she was nursing, I would fill up with milk almost immediately before she would wake up to be fed. My body knew when my baby was ready to eat. That’s proof of God, if I’ve never seen it.

 A child knows his mother or his father and will never love any substitute parent as she loves you. Make sure you remain an active part of your child’s life so that they know you love them and that you have not been replaced.

But what if my child calls him “Daddy, or Mommy?”

Well, first of all, your ex should not allow this. This is confusing to children. Children should have a different name that they refer to their stepparent as. The titles Mom and Dad should be reserved for the parent only. However, if your ex makes your child call his or her partner Mom or Dad, know that your child is only doing this to appease the other parent. They still know that you are their only Mom or Dad.
If your ex is not married to their partner, your child DEFINITELY should not be calling them Mom or Dad. Talk to your ex and express your concern over this. With 50% of marriages ending, the high breakup rate of cohabitating couples who later marry and the instability of dating relationships, your child should not be considering your unmarried partner a parent at all. They should be considered a friend or your ex’s partner, never a parent.

There is life after divorce, even though it may not seem like it now.

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4 Responses to Stepparents, Remarriage, New Partners and such…

  1. Kendra Brooks says:

    Girl, when I married my husband his ex was devastated. I did feel bad for her, but I agree with you when you say that people idealize what they THINK is going on. Girl, our relationship isn’t roses and she need not worry. Also, her son loves me but he knows his mom is always his mom. Kids are smart, you can’t fool them.

  2. Yep, I agree Kendra. I have a little one in a similar situation but I’ve made sure to tell her that I’ll always be her mom, no matter what. I guess it depends on the age of the child as well. Good luck telling an 8 year old that they have a new “Mommy” or “Daddy.”

  3. Katie says:

    I don’t totally argree. My step daughter is 2 and she has lived with my husband and me since she was 2 weeks old. She sees her mother every 3 months for a few hours and and there and on holiday. She parties plays poker 4 times a week and is about to marry a man who hates her kids. I was the one up all night caring for a new born. I am her primary care giver because I husband works. She calls me mommy and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I love her with all my heart and I may not have given birth to her but that dosent mean I love her any less

    • Hi Katie, thanks for responding. I think there is something wrong with a child calling their stepmother “Mommy.” You take care of her, but you are not her mother, pure and simple.You are her father’s wife, but you are not her mother. It’s nothing personal against you, but that’s just what it is. Secondly, you judge the mother and her decisions, but I ask you or any other stepmother–have you lost or been forced to give up your child? It’s probably the most devastating, empty feeling in the world. Have you ever stopped to think that she only sees the child sporadically because of how painful it must be to see the child she carried calling someone else “Mom?” That mother, flawed though she may be, gave that child life, and without her, you would not enjoy the happy moments you enjoy with that child. Yes, you have to stay up all night caring for the child, but you get to be there for her first steps, to see her laugh, to bond with her and to share in the joys that her mother never gets to experience.

      My ex sued me for custody because he was angry that I left the relationship and because he didn’t want to pay child support. I did lose because he had a lawyer and I did not, and he knew how to manipulate the system. Because of this, I’ll never get to attend my daughter’s school plays—-they don’t allow me to. His girlfriend let me know that I was not allowed to comb my child’s hair without their permission. I gave so much to my child for nothing. So when my five year old calls me “other Mommy” and my ex’s girlfriend “Mom” it hurts terribly. I’m not saying you don’t love her but you will never have the bond that she has with her mom. Whether her mom sees her once a year or once a day, that bond is unbreakable.

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