I wrote a post when I first started at CM that had to do with what I learned about being a BM once I dealt with a BM. I always say that the best thing that happened to BF was me marrying DH and having to deal with a really awful BM.
And the other day, it became really clear that a whole bunch of women on this forum are just SMs and have never been a BM. At this point in my life, I think I am a pretty damn good BM. Before SM divorced BF, we had made peace and had a really respectful relationship. I bet she thought I was an angry crazy BM for awhile in the beginning. Partially it was true but partially it was SM rationalizing her OW status. I had to be an awful woman for her to feel OK about sleeping with a married man...
So, I ask those of you that are not BMs to imagine for a moment, what it would be like for you to have your beloved husband cheat on you and leave you for another woman. That you divorce him and suddenly, after years of living a happy, intact family life, you have to pack your children up for days at a time to go live with their father and his new wife. Maybe it goes well for your kids and maybe they hate her. Doesn't matter - imagine how it would feel for you to not tuck them in every night. To suddenly not know everything about what they do every day. To maybe hear about how fun SM is and how much they love DH.
Don't take this exercise lightly. Really try to sit with what that might be like.
And please don't say it will never happen. That would be the
penultimate pinnacle of denial. Many of you will be divorced within 10 years.
And then I would ask each of you who deal with a difficult BM, to attempt some empathy. To try and change the lens you see her through and imagine her behaviors as just misunderstood by you and your DH.
I know some of you deal with certifiable. This exercise can apply to you as well. But most of you do not deal with crazy. I do not believe for one moment that most ex-wives are crazy. They might exhibit crazy behavior during intense emotional times, but they are not crazy.
Does attempting to walk a mile in BMs shoes change even the slightest bit your perception of some of her behaviors?
Forget the OW. It really is irrelevant. Forget your current BM for a moment. This is really not about her, This is about you. What I am suggesting is just for a moment, imagine the very real possibility that you and your DH divorce. Maybe you want it, maybe he wants it. Maybe it is for all the right reasons and the two of you just grew apart; maybe just one of you became unhappy. Maybe it was done honorably, maybe one of you behaved poorly.
Just imagine that as a mother, you no longer share the raising of your children with a loving partner who is committed and interested in being on the same page as you. Imagine that your children will experience things without you on a regular basis. Think about how hard it is to come to agreement on issues with your DH currently when you are married, happy and in love. Now imagine what it will be like if you divorce to reach consensus.
Imagine the money stress. Imagine suddenly having to go back to work, deal with your grief, find a new place to live, create a new budget with significantly less resources.
Imagine dating again. That was my nightmare after being with BF for over 20 years!
Imagine how different your life will/would be if DH was no longer your loving husband.
I remember when I first married BF, his older sister started having children. And I remember being so incredibly judgemental of her child rearing techniques. I knew I would never do it the way she did and I knew I would handle things better and I knew I would be a better mother. What do you think happened? I faced the same challenges she did and handled many of them the same way. You don't really know how you are going to handle a situation until you actually experience it. So, try not to simply say "I would never handle it the way BM did". Again, BM is pretty irrelevant to this exercise.
Empathy? Compassion? A bit of understanding? A different perspective? Less judgement?
Just wondering of you find yourself shifting ever so slightly from the place some of you are stuck at with your personal situation. What is that expression - "There but for the grace of god go I..."