There was a time in my stepmomming journey when I thought I would never be able to see my husband’s ex without feeling sick to my stomach. Even though she and I never had any direct confrontations, I still didn’t want to see her. It could have been nerves, jealously, resentment… or even fear of verbal conflict between her and my husband. The root of what caused the pit in my stomach changed from one encounter to the next, but the feeling was consistent, and often crippling.
No matter how highly functioning your blended family may be, there’s still a small part inside of most women which absolutely dreads seeing their husband’s exes. Whether it’s a trade, soccer practice, a birthday party, or graduation, The Ex is there… and as the mother of your stepkids, she should be there! We can’t- and shouldn’t- expect her to stop showing up, but what we can do is adjust our perspective.
How to See The Ex without Breaking a Sweat
Forget the Titles.
Don’t think of her as “The Ex” or “The Mom” but instead, think of her as a regular person. Think of her just as any other acquaintance you may run into at shared events. We don’t always like everyone we run into at Target, but we typically will stop and speak to be polite. Consider her a Target-friend.
Forget the Drama.
Are things heated between you and your husband right now? If so, keep it all away from the encounter. Heated conversations are better kept to email, anyway. You are all meeting up for the sake of the kids, so don’t forget that! Keep adult discussions between adults only, and forget about it while you’re in the presence of the kids.
Lose the Ego.
A meet-up with The Ex will go much better if you stand down, trust me. You do not need to “make your presence known.” She already knows you are with her ex, and doesn’t need you to show up to an event in full-Superwoman mode to remind her. Play it cool. The way you carry yourself is a reflection of your character, and an example to your children.
Practice your Affirmations.
Are you really struggling with resentment or jealousy toward The Ex? Maybe you’re hung up on all of the firsts you’ve missed. Maybe you think she’s prettier than you, or a better Mom than you. Whatever the case may be, remember to practice regular affirmations. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful, you are wonderful, and you are enough… because you are!
Don’t Overthink It.
So much of the stress we bring upon ourselves in blended families is by overthinking things. If you are about to attend a school concert and The Ex will be there… so what?! She’s just another person in the crowd (Remember: Target-friend). She is living her life and looking for long-lasting fulfillment just as you are. She has baggage just as you do. She is imperfect, just like you.
It doesn’t matter how much baggage there is between her and your husband. It doesn’t matter if there’s an upcoming custody modification and emotions are high. When it comes to seeing The Ex in-person, none of those things matter. Be the bigger person. You control your own happiness. Don’t let her- or anyone else- take that away from you.
Remember, comparison is the killer of joy. Whether you’re new in your relationship trying to make your presence known, engaged and feeling insecure about becoming a second wife, or married and trying to prove to The Ex you are a worthy stepmom, just let it go. Don’t even think about breaking a sweat when The Ex is around. You are far too blessed to be stressed.
PS: Is the baggage from his ex weighing you down? I understand your stepmom sacrifice.