FRIENDLY NOT FRIENDS WITH THE EX
An open letter from a Mom to the StepMom a few weeks ago went viral and with it the implication a Mom and StepMom's ideal relationship should be that of two Besties. While in theory it sounds like a reachable goal, reality paints a far more challenging picture that has all the makings of friendship never happening. The better alternative, the one more likely to succeed is creating an atmosphere of Friendly Not Friends With The Ex.
Friendly Not Friends With The Ex
Five Reasons To Be Friendly Not Friends With The Ex:
1. Nothing in Common: You share children and the Ex was married to your Hubby, but that's not enough to build a healthy friendship. If it wasn't a good fit with your Hubby and his former spouse, chances are it's unlikely to be a good fit between the two of you. She avoids coffee, tea; basically any caffeinated beverages along with disdain for swear words. You on the other hand are a caffeine addicted, tea drinker that swears like a drunken sailor. Not a good fit with even the basics.
2. Subliminal Parenting Competition: A subliminal competition lies just beneath the surface when a kid expresses a preference for one parent's lifestyle over the other. Then watch out as anything goes when the hurt parent tries to reach preferred status. Kids go through phases with who is their fave parent. Parents in a first marriage consider it normal kid behavior. Divorced Parents unconsciously view it as a battle to win fave status. Competition creates emotional barriers not conducive to friendship.
3. Expects Top Billing: The Ex Wife was married to your Hubby first, birthed his children and assumes that bought them lifetime rights to be your Hubby's Top Priority. Particularly when it comes to a disagreement between the two of you. Taking the Ex Wife's side over their current wife usually ends in Wife #2 becoming Ex Wife #2. Top billing expectations from the Ex scream to the current wife - you're disposable to me.
4. Flame Burns Brightly For Your Hubby: Apparently, the Ex missed the news flash - they divorced your Hubby years ago. Yet they continue to refer to him as if he is still their Husband. Often times discounting the man they are married to and the life they share as collateral damage to keep the illusion in full swing. Confusion runs rampant in shared social circles, many wondering whom the Ex Wife is actually married too. Attempting to build a friendship with the woman who pretends that neither you nor the life you lead exists is futile.
5. Differing Parenting Philosophies: You don't get them and they don't get you. Perhaps their parenting style is more inline with ordering off the a la carte menu. Wouldn't it be nice to only order decadent desserts? Whereas, you chose the all-inclusive meal, overcooked chicken with the house wine. Doesn't mean their parenting is the right way and your's wrong or vice versus. You both tackle this Mom/Parent role from different points of view making it hard to find a shared connection.
A Friendly relationship on the other hand means; you can sit together at a high school graduation, share the occasional meal, travel together to drop a kid off at College, attend a doctor's appointment, participate in a group text and share the joy of a child's adventures with their other parent.
Aspiring to be Besties or Friends with the Ex may work in certain Blended Family situations. It's definitely the exception not the rule. To those parents who are successful at doing so, my hats off to you! For the rest of us who are unable to do so, whether it's due to the 5 reasons up above or 100 other reasons, it's a flat out victory when you reach Friendly Status with the Ex.
Blended, Not Stirred!
Reasons to be Friendly Not Friends from the Mom perspective check out:
Are you Friends or Friendly with the Ex? What brings you together? What keeps you at arms length?