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Friendlier relationship with BM, is it really possible?!

Posted by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 12:26 AM
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I would like some advice about improving my relationship with BM, no really, LOL.  In general, I find the relationships between my DH and BM and me and BM challenging.   I resent BM for undermining DH's authority with his DDs and him for putting up with it and I've secretly judged her parenting style harshly (but only once, regrettably, not so secretly in front of my SDs).  My DH and BM are speaking less and less to each other these days, particularly since we married a year ago, so I feel partly responsible.  For my SDs sake I wish it was better  between them but I had problems in the beginning with BM crossing boundaries (which is another reason I find it hard to like her) and DH not setting any boundaries, so I had to be the bad guy and set some (and it almost ended our relationship).  This definitely created a riff between me and BM, me and DH and probably to some degree, me and my SDs (two, both now teens).  I  doubt BM feels comfortable in our new home  (she rarely comes in anymore, at least when I'm at home, to wait for SDs that are rarely ready to go, warm up her coffee in the microwave, use the bathroom, check out what new things we are working on,  etc....).  Now, after time has passed, I do have some regrets about being so unfriendly and I would like for things to be more cordial between BM and I, and between DH and BM (for the sake of my SDs), but I do not trust that she will start crossing  those boundaries again and that we would let it happen just to keep the peace.   I think to this day DH still does not truly understand that I was mainly (in the past) upset about the boundary violations and not so much about his relationship with his ex (I'm friends with my ex, but we don't hang out together like old pals).   I really do want to do the right thing....but I do want some boundaries here, too.  

by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 12:26 AM
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by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 9:21 AM
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I'd sit down with Dh first. Tell him how you feel, what boundaries you want and get All the details on the table Before talking to Bm.
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by Gold Member on Sep. 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Stick to the facts.  That's the best advice I can give.

In my experience, boundaries are apt to become an issue again if you try to be friends.  You can be civil and keep things strictly about the kids.  Don't seek agreement, support or buy-in.  If you get it, yay!  If not, oh well.  Make the purpose of any communication about keeping all parents in the loop. 

If you think about your best girlfriend, how would she react if you tried to tell her how to raise her kid?  This is the problem that crops up between BM and SM.  The SM role is a parental one, but you don't have ownership of the kids when it comes to BM.  With DH, yes, you're his partner.  BM is not your partner.  She does not want another woman telling her how to raise her kids.  She may want help enforcing rules, but if she and DH are on separate pages of the parenting playbook, you're at risk of getting caught in the middle and stepping on both your DH's and BM's toes.  It's a lose-lose position.  So if you want to deal with BM, you need to approach it as more of a business relationship.  DH is your partner, and your duties are first and foremost to assist him in the parenting of his children under your roof.  Any interaction with BM is for exchange of information to keep her informed and enable to consistency between households, but that's it.  She and DH - not you!! - are responsible for taking any steps toward implementing joint policies. 

by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 10:59 AM
My "friendlier " relationship was just something that happened over time. It was nothing I ever sought out. I realized BM dealt better with me and when I dealt with BM things were better for the SKs. At that point I started to make an effort to be the go between for BM and DH. Things have been pretty smooth ever since.
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by Silver Member on Sep. 7, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I am not "friends" with BM, but we are civil. We keep everything about SD and yes, there are boundaries (she doesn't come in my home and I don't go in hers- things like that). We only communicate about SD and only if my DH can't at the time (if he's a work, etc). It took a few years for her and I to even get to that point, so patience is also a key factor. If you truly want to make nice, then talk to DH and the two of you decide what boundaries you will agree on. Then maybe the two of you can talk to BM? I'm not sure if it's better with both talking to BM or just DH, that's something for you guys to decide.

by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 12:27 PM

This is a tough one.  I sometimes wonder if I should try to be friendlier to BM or include her more in my home.  But then I think about my comfort level and the fact that she has made nasty comments about me and DH and even threatened to take DH back to court for more child support because she thinks she's entitled to some of my money now too and then I realize that she's just not a nice person and I don't like to be friends with people like that.  I made it clear at the beginning that I needed boundaries for this to work.  BM doesn't come in my home and I don't go into hers.  I never discuss issues regarding SS with her.  That's for DH to do.  We are cordial to one another at SS's school and sports functions, we even sit together and make small talk (mostly about what a great kid SS is).  That's it.  Like some of the other posters have said, you should talk to your DH about this and then see if it's something worth discussing with BM.  But I think there's a reason you wanted her to back off in your home so maybe it's for the best. Maybe you just might want to talk to her (or have DH talk to her) calmly about why you think these boundaries are for the best and just ask that she respect them and let her know that you will respect hers.

by Bronze Member on Sep. 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I am friends with BM from my first stepfamily. There were a lot of boundary issues in the beginning, and it does take time (my journey w BM started 18 yrs ago.) For me, I would get upset over something, but just had to let it go and tried to treat her as I would have liked to be treated. Her and I are very different in a lot of ways, but she is a good person, a good mom, and I respect that. I focused on that. Just as if you have a sister or a friend that does things you don't agree with, you let it go. In my case BM had a really hard time moving on - she was married to my ex for 10 years, since they were 18, and she just couldn't seem to separate in her head that he was not ever coming back. I worked really hard to show her that 1) I didn't want to take her kids away and 2) I would not engage her in ANY conversations about DH, I would just say I'm really sorry, I can't speak for him 3) I would always put the kids first. We started with joint bday parties, then some holidays, then it ended up that her and I would sit down for coffee at each visit. We even went for a girls night evey once in a while. Now we are both his ex, and the kids are grown and moved out. I have moved out of state. We keep in touch with email and FB, and I consider her an old friend.
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by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM

by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Power to you, but I'm in no mindset of having ANY relationship with BM. I get all the "relationship" I want with her through the CPS lady at the state supervised visits once month... that she barely can make time for as it is. I have seen her around town and I have found it best to jsut ignore her to avoid the drama she loves to encircle her... plus I can never trust my mouth to actually communicate with my brain before opening and running amock. lol

I'm sure with some, a relationship with BM or BF is perfectly fine and natural and is possible... but thats not possible for all of us.

by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 1:46 PM
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Get the book "no ones the bitch" I got myself and bm a copy.
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by on Sep. 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM
I guess sit down with DH and tell him what kind of relationship you want with BM and go from there...

My SO's dd with his ex wife is 18 so we never see each other. When we do we act like the adults we are for their dd. Its hard because I really don't like her attempt at parenting but its not my deal really when SD is with BM
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