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Becoming BM - Update in Red

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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..."


by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Replies (111-112):
by Ruby Member on May. 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM

I think I always knew things would end with BF.  he really never changed.  And I was quite a bit like DHs BM in the beginning.  I was hurt and angry and I wanted him to hurt as well.  I wanted to punish him.  And since I knew no other divorced Mom's, I had no one to compare myself to.  It took falling in love with a man with an ex to see how I didn't want to behave anymore.

I can say unequivocally that if DH and I were to divorce today, no matter what the reason, I would be a very different ex wife right from the start.

Quoting momof2ex1:

I agree. I didn't know right away but I figured it out eventually exactly what kind of ex wife I wanted to be. The problem for me was that the man I had married and created life with, ended up changing in to someone I had never met before. His values changed, his goals, he completely changed in to someone I did not recognize. It has me jaded and cynical. I think of my now husband and wonder, will he change too? Surely not. I know him. He is my best friend. But to be quite honest with myself - I felt the same about my ex husband too. He was my best friend. I knew him, very well I thought. You just never know ...

Quoting Ktina11:

I have imagined this many times. Under no circumstances can I imagine making decisions regarding our kids without getting how DH feels about it first. I can imagine the hurt and pain involved in a bad divorce....however I respect the fact that DH can and likely does have good ideas with regard to raising our boys so I believe I would work to have a good co-parenting situation. BM has made it clear that she is the only opinion that matters and DH is essentially just a monthly paycheck. I can say with 100% positivity.....this would never be how I would treat my ex.

by Ruby Member on May. 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM

And what generated that response?

Try posting under your screen name and I might like to discuss further.

Quoting Anonymous:

It drives me nuts that women in here just bash, and bash, and bash BM's, thinking that every move the BM makes is done to screw over the BF, rather than something she probably struggled with to come to something that would work for the best interest of her children.

So many women on this board are fine with calling the BM horrid names, but they each come in and complain about being called names. It's a two way street.

The new wife, the ex-wife. Both women are people who have to learn to live with a less than ideal situation, and the tales they might each be hearing from others, does not help.

I live in a situation I did not see myself in, as both a BM and SM. I treat the kids as equals, and I take what I hear with a grain of salt. I don't take my kids words as the law of God when they tell me about how horrible SM was to them. I ask SM and BF if there were any issues, and I go from there.

Accusations on either side never help. Kids are kids- sometimes the story they tell isn't the accurate story. Not because the children are lying, but because to a child (the younger, the worse it is), it may come across very differently than intended.

I trust my kids, but I don't buy blindly every thing they say. I'm there for them, and we all try to do what is in their best interest, without letting the past drama color our interactions.

Does that make it a perfect world? Hell no. I get upset. They get upset. We try to work it out without screaming about lawyers, and posting on Facebook about what an asshole or bitch the other person is.

The only thing that anger is going to change, is how your kids see the situation. :(

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