Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More than I bargained for

Before I met my current BF, I had always said that I didn’t want to date a guy who had kids.  My reasoning was that if he was a good dad, I would always come second, and I didn’t see the fairness in that (since I don’t have kids, the guy would be first for me) and if he was the type of guy who would put me first, he wouldn’t be a good dad in my opinion, and therefore not the type of guy I could be with and respect long term.

For me it was pretty cut and dry, and for all of my 20s I avoided guys with kids.

Then I got to the end of my 20s, and my cousin helpfully pointed out that in this day and age, finding a guy in his 30s who didn’t already have kids AND didn’t want any (as I have no intentions of having any myself) was a pretty unrealistic expectation.  She also pointed out that I was at a stage in my life where even if I met Mr. Right the next day, there would be plenty of people who would come before him in my life.  I was past the age where a man could be the center of my world, so why should I expect to be the center of theirs.  This didn’t worry me, since I have always been very ok with the single life, but it did get me thinking, so I decided I would set aside my « rules » and see how it went.

Then, breaking all my rules, I met him.  He was everything I never wanted, and he was the one for me.  We went really slow, dated for a few months before even considering bringing the kids (or the ex) into it.  I thought long and hard about what I though dating a guy with kids implied, and whether or not this guy was worth it.  I thought about what kind of role I wanted to play in these kids’ life.  I decided that I would be the same as with my niece and godson, and extra adult in the support system.  I knew that the situation with his ex was, shall we say, difficult, but my mom’s side of the family are pretty much all crazy as a bag of hammers dysfunctional, so I figured if I survived them, I should be good.  I knew his mother was imposing and one of those people who is « always right », but I have no problem standing up for myself when needed.  I decided to dive in.

What followed was a whirlwind of family and household dynamics that I never could have prepared for or imagined.  Within a year, everything I knew had changed.  I ended up in a family and home that I never saw coming, but it was still good.

I developed a pretty great relationship with the kids, and the healthiest and most fulfilling relationship with a man that I have ever had.  His ex and I seemed to be able to work together.  His mom and I have found our common ground, and she has even acknowledged I was right a few times.  I figured we were on the right track.

Then, for some reason I still don’t know, his ex decided I was the enemy.  Where before she often asked me to get involved, now she was aggressively excluding me.  Where once she expressed the desire for us to be friends, now she is attacking left and right, to the point that my BF, his mom and brother have felt the need to intervene and defend me.  It’s gotten to the point that I have felt the need to consult with a lawyer.

Perhaps due to her animosity, we are having more trouble than usual with the oldest.  Definitely due to her animosity, my BF is stressed .  On the one hand, he doesn’t want to fight with her, but on the other he knows that he needs to have my back.

In the past few weeks, I have realized that as much as I love my BF and his kids, this whole stepmom gig sucks.  I never expected it to be easy, but I never expected to live in a minefield either.  I also felt my nemesis depression trying to sneak up on me.  I don’t think I ever expected his ex to have this much of a presence in my day to day life, even when the kids aren’t there.  It had been a long time since I had felt this isolated.  I guess I just generally realized that I was overwhelmed and under-equipped.  

I bought myself a couple of step-mom books and decided to take a step back, focus on me a bit.  I know I can’t avoid the ex, or the resulting drama forever, but taking a break and trying to find a new game plan is about all I can do to keep sane and not run for the hills.  There is no way in hell I'm going to let her team up with depression to take me down.

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