Childless Stepparent

for stepmoms + stepdads with the unique challenges – and gifts – of creating a family with their spouse + their spouse's child(ren) and no child(ren) of their own

Category: spouse’s former spouse

Patience Is Fearless Non-Aggression

spouse's former spouse
Pema Chodron tells us that patience is fearless non-aggression. Dealing with my husband’s former wife has given me a powerful opportunity to practice this kind of patience. For that I am truly grateful.

My husband and I were mindful about slowly integrating me into his daughter’s life. It’s essential that she feel safe and loved and listened to around me.

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From Rattled to Grateful in a Few Hours

spouse's former spouse
Earlier today, my husband’s former wife stopped by our house uninvited and unannounced. She has not done this before. In fact, she had never been to our town – much less our home – in the four years my husband has lived here.

My husband’s daughter was with her mom and wanted her to see where she spends half her life. I get it. That’s healthy. But the way it was handled by her mom was inconsiderate – without the courtesy of a phone call or a text beforehand. Disappointing but not surprising.

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The Childless Stepparent Manifesto in Action

spouse's former spouse
The holidays are a challenging time for most stepfamilies, which is why I shared some advice for childless stepfamilies on the holidays.

My husband and I enjoyed a snowed-in, quiet Christmas Day together – his daughter was with her mom this year. Like many stepfamilies, ours alternates Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays – one year with her mom, the next with us. My husband’s daughter was excited to spend the week with her grandparents.

Christmas Day came and went. My husband texted and called his daughter but never heard back. The day after Christmas came and went. That night, I asked my husband if he’d heard from his daughter, and he said no.

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When Your Spouse’s Ex is a Narcissist

spouse's former spouse
I am not a trained psychologist but I am familiar with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) through personal experience and deep study. I won’t go into details here about NPD except to say that it’s very difficult for children when one of their parents is a narcissist.

Sadly for my husband’s daughter, her mom exhibits many traits of NPD.

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Stop Listening to Background Noise from Your Spouse’s Former Spouse

spouse's former spouse
Several months ago, my husband’s former wife asked to sit down with me “woman-to-woman.” It had been over a year since I reached out and was rebuffed by her, so I looked forward to talking about how she and I can work together to care for her child.

Instead, she talked about how hard this situation is for her. I told her I empathized. She said I couldn’t understand since I’m not a mom. I agreed. I quickly realized that she was not there to talk about her daughter’s well-being. She was there to tell me about her own pain. It was a disappointing and revealing meeting.

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How to Handle Conflict with Your Spouse’s Former Spouse

spouse's former spouse

“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart and to relate to that wound.”

~ Pema Chodron | Start Where You Are

Dealing with my husband’s former wife has been a gift. It has been a gift because it has been difficult.

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Stop Competing with Your Stepchild’s Mom

spouse's former spouse

“The people who repel us unwittingly show us the aspects of ourselves that we find unacceptable, which otherwise we can’t see. Other people trigger the karma that we haven’t worked out. They mirror us and give us the chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff that we carry around like a backpack full of granite boulders.” 

~ Pema ChodronStart Where You Are

My husband told me recently that he thinks I’m competing with his daughter’s mom. He’s right. I’m humbled to admit it, but he’s right. My ego has driven me to do things that I know will “show up” his former wife.

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