Stepmoms: Quit Comparing Yourself to His Ex!

Stepmom Thinking

I’ve ALWAYS obsessed about comparing myself to my husband’s ex and today I’m making it public.  I fixated on her looks, parenting skills, her previous and current relationship with my husband, her hatred for me, and the list goes on.  This preoccupation has taken much of my time, happiness and health.  Am I the only stepmom dealing with this inner torment or are you reading because you share the same struggle?  Here are some of my hang-ups.

  • She’s prettier than me.
  • Why would my husband put his ex first over me?
  • Why did my husband marry her?
  • Was his married relationship better with her or me?
  • Is she a better mother than me?
  • Is she more successful than me?

IT WAS TIME TO QUIT COMPARING MYSELF TO HIS EX, AS THERE WAS NO COMPARISON.

Recently, my husband went to court with his ex for a child support modification.  It was a difficult day for us and we had many sleepless nights prior to the hearing.  We entered the courtroom untied with our attorney; his ex entered unrepresented and the judge came in with her assistant.  I had a slight bolt of sympathy for his ex, alone without any support, even though she recently married.

As the hearing proceeded, his ex answered embarrassing questions, her facial reactions turned rigid and body language noticeably uncomfortable.  It was then I realized I had nothing to worry about.  It was one of those “AHA MOMENTS” that become engrained in your memory.

She’s prettier than me.

Yes, my husband’s ex is a beautiful woman.  Maybe your partner’s ex is beautiful.  For years, I would torture myself asking my husband why he’d selected me, an average looking woman, when he could have attracted a more beautiful woman.  Even his ex chased him for years after we married.  But, he only looked at me.

WE WERE CHOSEN BY OUR PARTNERS BECAUSE OF THE BEAUTY WE POSSESS INSIDE AS WELL AS OUTSIDE.

My husband often tells me how pretty I am.  He’s also a firm believer (due to experience) that pretty on the outside doesn’t equal a beautiful soul.  Looks are fleeting and aren’t sustaining.

Be confident about who you are and know your partner is attracted to you due to the reasons you love one another.  Don’t let anyone make you feel less than what you are and always keep your head high when dealing with his ex.  What I witnessed at court was a woman radiating so much bitterness her beauty became invisible.

Why would my husband put his ex first over me?

My husband had a hard transition when we married.  It was difficult for him to totally leave behind the commitment he had with his ex and start a new life with me even though she left him years earlier.  He would find it hard to tell his ex no or believe she was not the person he thought.  His ex knew he possessed great loyalty and would take advantage of that quality compromising the first few years of our marriage.  This quality for loyalty (for his ex) almost cost us our marriage.

ONCE WE BECAME UNIFIED AS A COUPLE NO ONE COULD STOP US!

Court was a way to demonstrate our partnership, working together to solidify what we want now and in the future with his kids.  His ex saw nothing but an undivided front on our side, as she stood alone.  Join forces with you partner and never give up no matter the circumstance.

Why did my husband marry her?

I heard stories from my husband about his ex, and I know the craziness I’ve experienced with her.  I’m befuddled as to why my husband married her.  I am almost a 100% different than his ex.  The only thing I can figure is he was short sighted with attraction and didn’t think about the long term.  Once a beautiful woman’s’ dishonesty and limitations come out the looks quickly fade.

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WORRYING ABOUT THIS ONE!

During this entire modification process I saw an ex that held on to the past posing as a victim at every opportunity.  While most people learn from their experiences, becoming wiser, this wasn’t the case.  The success of a good marriage is when a couple can change and mature together, set common goals and honor each other with love and respect.  Be a strong partner for your mate and carry your share of the responsibilities and expect the same in return.

Was his married relationship better with her or me?

Admit it, you’ve wondered about this?  I know I’ve been curious.  Did he love her more than he loves me?  Was he closer to her than me?  What are the secrets they will always share I won’t ever know?  Are you curious, just like me?

HIS LOVE FOR YOU GROWS EVERY DAY, HIS LOVE FOR HER STOPPED YEARS AGO.

At court I observed two people that no longer knew each other.  They were two people that once were extremely close but now have grown so far apart they can’t relate to one another.  This is a sad situation but one that plagues many blended families.  Of course his love for her was different than the love he has for me.  We need to remember, our partners have matured and learned many valuable lessons from their pasts.  Their relationship with us is far greater and more rewarding than past relationships.  We may not be their first choice but we are their BEST CHOICE.

Is she a better mother than me?

I am not a perfect mother.  Every day I make mistakes with my children and step kids, as we all do.  At the beginning of our relationship my husband would tell me his ex was a good mother.  But, I would see behaviors and choices from his ex that were completely foreign to me.  It’s important we understand people parent from their experiences and how they were raised.

HIS EX IS THE BEST MOTHER SHE CAN BE; I’M THE BEST STEPMOTHER I CAN BE.

I will never be a biological or legal mother to my step kids but I will always be there to encourage, love and guide them.  I will always have a permanent place in their lives.  As my relationship grew with my husband, he and his kids started to see a difference in parenting styles between his ex and me. Teach your kids to honor and respect all their parents (biological, adoptive and step).

Is she more successful than me?

This was a definite eye-opener in court.  His ex talked about the classes she was taking, as she was unemployed and searching for work.  I realized I taught these same classes over 24 years ago to adults just like her.  She seemed adrift without purpose.  But, her choices led to her current situation.

WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN CHOICES, DIRECTION AND HAPPINESS.

Not many people will view life the same as you.  In life, you will find people smarter than you, more or less liberal/conservative than you, and people that blame the world for their situation.  We can only control our outcomes by educating ourselves in areas that allow us to successfully function in life.  We are responsible for our own happiness.

Stepmoms, I’m not saying I will permanently stop comparing myself to his ex.  I don’t know if I truly have the capability to stop completely.  But, I now understand the quality person I am to my husband.  I see more clearly what his life was like with this other woman and how God blessed him by relieving him of this situation.  Don’t ever doubt yourself or why your partner is with you.  Love your situation, cherish your partner and give yourself a break.

 

Wife, mom, step mom, grandma and ex-wife that likes boundaries.

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Stepmom Linda Freeze, provides insight into her hang-ups over her husband's ex and how she has been able to work on changing her perspective on comparisons.