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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?

UPDATE:

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 (41-50):
stepmozzy
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:02 PM


Quoting dinaweena101:

According to even the Federal Government, children "belong" to thier parents.

 Kids are not equated with toys ~ they are human beings who *generally* have parents who invest wholeheartedly in their lives and don't go into having kids with the thought that one day they have to give up thier 'rights' to another adult, outside of the children becoming adults themselves and gaining autonomy according to law. 

 This viewpoint is belittling to involved BP's.

Divorce doesn't equate to 'step-familial socialism' where what's yours is mine and what's mine is yours. Perhaps if more people, male and female, coming into these broken family situations viewed the kids as already 'belonging' to someone else, they would have less strife, or less accusations of overstepping. A marriage license does not a 'parent' make. Becoming a SM takes time, investment, and understanding, just as letting go of being the 'ONLY MOM' takes time, effort, and consideration on the part of BM. :-)

Quoting CKuse:

I just don't understand why everyone says they aren't for sharing their children. It's a child not a toy. They arent really "sharing" their child, they are accepting that the child has another adult figure in their life. Idk its just to me the term sharing sounds possessive and materialistic. That's why I've never understood when bm said that.

 

I agree, children can't be owned.  If you think that they can be, and that it would help to see the child as 'property' of one parent post-divorce; then you are in for a surprise when they are about 14 to 16 years old. 

That viewpoint strays into human trafficking.  If you can own a child, then can you sell it? 

dinaweena101
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:06 PM

you knew what I meant ;-)

Maybe she dreamed of the 'happily ever after' and is still hurt that it never happened? Who knows...feelings are fickle....

Quoting CKuse:

They were never married. But that could be what she meant. Who knows.


mikiemom
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:08 PM

So when/if you have your own children you may understand the feelings that go along with having to deal with trying to co-parent a child 

co-porenting = separated bio-parents parenting their child as one parenting team - note that does not include stepparents.

Quoting CKuse:

I'm not trying to have it both ways. I was just saying that I didn't understand the term sharing when it came to children. I'm a ncsm and I'm going to be a mom to my own children but to my SS I'm not going to claim to be his mom but I am going to be the woman of my house ya know? Bm uses the term sharing with DH though, like she has said she didn't plan on sharing their son with him. I just didn't get that.


closetmom
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM


Quoting CKuse:

I'm not trying to have it both ways. I was just saying that I didn't understand the term sharing when it came to children. I'm a ncsm and I'm going to be a mom to my own children but to my SS I'm not going to claim to be his mom but I am going to be the woman of my house ya know? Bm uses the term sharing with DH though, like she has said she didn't plan on sharing their son with him. I just didn't get that.


I wouldn't think a NCSM really does "share" the child in the sense that I described above. I think it would be more common with CSM's and NCBMs.

I don't know what your husband's ex meant by that term. I do feel I share my kids with their father, and that doesn't bother me. But sharing them with a SM would.

But their SM is not involved at all with them so I have never experienced that.

If you have kids, imagine losing custody and watching another woman raise your kids. Imagine knowing they refer to her as "my mom,"  even if they address her by her first name.  Imagine knowing that the teachers, coaches and other parents tell the SM, "your daughter did such and such today." 

If you dont' have kids, that exercise might not be very meaningful.

CKuse
by Bronze Member on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:13 PM
When I was pregnant with my twins by my ex, we broke up. Half the time I was pregnant we weren't together. He was dating someone else. Did I feel possessive and tell him that the children were only mine and that neither he or his new girlfriend could be around them? Nope. In fact I still invited him to Dr appointments and although I had his girlfriends number I never called and harassed her. I never told her she couldn't be around my babies ever. I never told my ex I didn't plan on sharing the twins with him. Yes I ended up losing both my babies but that doesn't mean that I haven't lived some part of what bm has. And I was even pregnant and hormonal but still managed to be rational and understand that i didn't make those babies alone they weren't just mine.
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mikiemom
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Exactly a child is shared between parents. Not step-parents.

My exh does not share a child with DH. Dh is a great step-dad but he is not dad. DS is very happy that Dh understands that and has created his own separate relationship that is not a father son relationship - more of a mentor / big brother type of relationship. Conversely ds is disturbed that is once a year ncsm doesn't understand that she doesn't warrant a mothers day call blech.

Quoting closetmom:


Quoting CKuse:

I'm not trying to have it both ways. I was just saying that I didn't understand the term sharing when it came to children. I'm a ncsm and I'm going to be a mom to my own children but to my SS I'm not going to claim to be his mom but I am going to be the woman of my house ya know? Bm uses the term sharing with DH though, like she has said she didn't plan on sharing their son with him. I just didn't get that.


I wouldn't think a NCSM really does "share" the child in the sense that I described above. I think it would be more common with CSM's and NCBMs.

I don't know what your husband's ex meant by that term. I do feel I share my kids with their father, and that doesn't bother me. But sharing them with a SM would.

But their SM is not involved at all with them so I have never experienced that.

If you have kids, imagine losing custody and watching another woman raise your kids. Imagine knowing they refer to her as "my mom,"  even if they address her by her first name.  Imagine knowing that the teachers, coaches and other parents tell the SM, "your daughter did such and such today." 

If you dont' have kids, that exercise might not be very meaningful.


jenessamarie
by The follower :) on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:19 PM

It is sad, heartbreaking... Something that takes almost superhuman strength to overcome... perhaps a pinch or narcissism (it helps)...

I am a CBM and doubt that will ever change. I try to think about how it must feel to be NCBM, it must hurt like hell. True, she made choices and I'm not to blame, but if I do things (knowingly) that hurt her... what does that make me? And WHO do I want to be? What kind of SM do I want my SD or my DD to be...What kind of WOMAN do I want to be to other WOMEN? All good thought provoking questions, ones that all SMs should ask themselves... There are, undoubtedly, variations that could be made for BMs as well. We are Women, all of us, irregardless of our label(s).

closetmom
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:21 PM


Quoting CKuse:

When I was pregnant with my twins by my ex, we broke up. Half the time I was pregnant we weren't together. He was dating someone else. Did I feel possessive and tell him that the children were only mine and that neither he or his new girlfriend could be around them? Nope. In fact I still invited him to Dr appointments and although I had his girlfriends number I never called and harassed her. I never told her she couldn't be around my babies ever. I never told my ex I didn't plan on sharing the twins with him. Yes I ended up losing both my babies but that doesn't mean that I haven't lived some part of what bm has. And I was even pregnant and hormonal but still managed to be rational and understand that i didn't make those babies alone they weren't just mine.


so you would have been ok with SM raising your babies and you seeing them just EOWE?

dinaweena101
by on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM

I'm sorry for your loss, CKuse :-(

Still, what you're descriding is completely different than raising kids and then having to watch them leave for extended periods. You can't know what *that* is like until you actually have to do it. This is an apples and oranges comparison, to me.

Quoting CKuse:

When I was pregnant with my twins by my ex, we broke up. Half the time I was pregnant we weren't together. He was dating someone else. Did I feel possessive and tell him that the children were only mine and that neither he or his new girlfriend could be around them? Nope. In fact I still invited him to Dr appointments and although I had his girlfriends number I never called and harassed her. I never told her she couldn't be around my babies ever. I never told my ex I didn't plan on sharing the twins with him. Yes I ended up losing both my babies but that doesn't mean that I haven't lived some part of what bm has. And I was even pregnant and hormonal but still managed to be rational and understand that i didn't make those babies alone they weren't just mine.


pdxmum
by Platinum Member on Jun. 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM


Quoting CKuse:

I'm not trying to have it both ways. I was just saying that I didn't understand the term sharing when it came to children. I'm a ncsm and I'm going to be a mom to my own children but to my SS I'm not going to claim to be his mom but I am going to be the woman of my house ya know? Bm uses the term sharing with DH though, like she has said she didn't plan on sharing their son with him. I just didn't get that.

And this was the whole point of my post - to try and ask SMs that have never been a BM to just try and imagine how it might feel.  And clearly you are having a hard time.  That is understandable and pretty normal. 

Maybe if you tried to understand how it might feel to have to lose time with your child because you divorce their father, it might give you some insight as to why BM acts the way she does.  Imagine your future child leaving you every other week to go be with his/her dad?  It isn't easy.

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