Admittedly, I'm very lucky. The woman my ex-husband married is super nice. So, that makes it a lot easier to be nice to her.
That being said, I know not everyone is as lucky. Some will have unreasonable exes with even wackier new spouses. But let's cut the drama and insecurity and be honest: most people's exes will marry a relatively nice person. Of course there are outliers with the super insane and unreasonable, but I can't imagine that the vast majority are truly working with a stepparent that is beyond reason.
Here is what my ex's wife does for my children: she loves them. She thinks of them and their wishes when planning events for them. She remembers sunscreen. She keeps me in the loop with what's going on. She offers to help out with carpools, birthdays and anything else. She does it all politely and with class. Guess what? My kids love her too!
How does that make me feel? I could feel sad that she gets to be with them when I'm not around. I could be sad that they love her. I could even be jealous that she is a much better party planner and far more organized than I could ever wish to be. But I'm not sad at all -- I'm actually super happy. Do you know why? I want my children to be happy and feel loved.
Let me ease your biggest fear first: your children will not love the stepparent more than they love you. Do you hear me? Your children love YOU! Believe it. Do you know there are children that withstand years of abuse and still love their parents? Of course, you are not that parent. I'm sure you do your best and love your children with all your heart. They have no reason not to love you! Trust me and let that fear go.
It's okay to be sad or jealous of the relationship your ex and the new spouse have with your children. Perhaps you are less than thrilled that you have to split time with your children and your ex's new family. Maybe your divorce ended with cheating, which most likely means you do not like the stepparent to begin with. These are pretty normal feelings. You can't change the cards you've been dealt. It's how you handle these feelings that makes all the difference.
Here are some great reasons to be cool to the stepparent:
1. You love your children. This is the number one-reason to be nice to the stepparent. Think of it like this: when the kids are with your ex and the stepparent, that stepparent sees you in the children. Don't you want only good thoughts about you running through the stepparent's head?
2. The alternative is far worse. Do you want your children to hate going over to the other parent's house? Do you want your children to have a mean and nasty stepparent? Do you want your littles ones to be neglected? NO! Of course you don't. So rejoice in the fact that they are being loved by more people.
3. Anger shortens your life. Stress can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body. So if you have nothing better to do but aggravate the stepparent and micro-manage your children when they are in your ex's care, you are setting yourself up for a shorter life. If you die of a heart attack caused by your own anger and stress, guess who gets to be with your kids forever? That's right -- not you. So be cool. You have one life and if your children honestly mean the world to you, take care to be kind to those that are in their lives.
Sometimes, all it takes is one person taking the high road to iron out a sticky situation involving four adults and children from the past relationships. The children are the innocent casualties in a divorce. Divorce happens for all sorts of reasons, and it's never fun for anyone. However, you can change how you react to it. Be the bigger person. Your children will thank you for it -- and so will the step parent.