Adventures In Dealing With The Remnants of Divorce
I never thought it would be so hard
Falling in love is easy. It's a decision based off of attraction, and hopefully a little bit of sense and forethought regarding whether or not the person being chosen is a good match...morally, socially, ambitiously.... Falling in love with someone who has kids is scary as hell. And hard as hell. And even though "I knew what I was getting into when I married him," I didn't really. How could I?
I do regret it? Not one bit. I love my husband, and his kids, and I love how our life together, and that experience of it coming together, helped me to grow up and gave me an instant family (and gave my parents instant access to "grandkids" so that they'd stop asking me when I was going to have a baby of my own). It's all of the other stuff I wish was easier.
My husband's ex is part of a seemingly growing population of crazy-ass women who don't know they're crazy (or they've been told they're crazy, by a mental health professional, and they're deeply in denial). And his daughter, who is 13 at the time I'm writing this, is VERY attached to her mother, and while she realizes her mother is crazy, she just can't bring herself to accept that fact. 40-year-old mother and 13-year-old daughter are best friends. It's difficult to deal with not just because it puts me in the position to always be the "evil" stepmother because I dare to parent with my husband, but also because it's like we have another teenager in the parenting mix, messing everything up by disregarding every rule and every expectation and every guideline we put in place.
I should also note that approximately 4 years ago, my husband and I wrested custody of both of his children (SD13 and SS9) away from his ex. As was typical, she had a boyfriend, and had moved him in FAST, and made him her daycare. She had a job at the time, the boyfriend didn't, so she had him stay at home with her kids. And he had NO idea what he was doing. And inappropriately punished the children. They told us. CPS was involved. The ex-wife had been blocking access and visitation before then anyway, my husband filed with the court for enforcement of the parenting time orders, and then a change in custody....and WON. It was the most stressful thing either of us had been through. We were fighting for the well-being of two little people, who couldn't fight for themselves. We were battling a "mother" for custody, and need to move the kids across state lines (because by that time, my husband had moved to my state for work...long story). We were a wreck. I lost 13lbs in 3 months, though! And my husband shed a few himself, too...not exactly the healthiest way to diet...but then again stress and lawyer's fees are great incentives to cut back and lose weight?
The kids came to live with us, and they've been with us, just over 80% of the time, every year, for the last 3 years. And the boyfriend their mother had has been permanently removed from their lives by court order. And to this day...the "mother" doesn't seem to realize that anything about her actions before the custody change were wrong. She still insists that the only way she could have lost custody was due to my husband's having "purjurerd (sic)" himself in court. Nevermind that she showed up with nearly no evidence, and we walked in, literally, with REAMS.
So, there's my brief background. And what comes next, is everything that's come after that difficult start.