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How do you get along well after a breakup? Despite hatred and jealousy? By taking a sentence to heart, says Susanne Petermann from the stepmother blog.
“I then decided that my child should be fine”.
This phrase from Lucie, a woman I met recently at a birthday party, made me sit up and listen. She was standing at a bar table with me and other guests, talking about her divorce years ago, and about how much she had bothered that her child liked going to dad and his new girlfriend on the weekends.
The hostess, a good friend of mine, had told her about my stepmother blog. So we started talking. Today, Lucie herself is a stepmother, in a happy relationship and can talk very openly about her feelings.
At that time, she was freshly separated, mother of a five-year-old daughter and just injured. It took exactly three weeks and two days for her ex to fall in love after being separated into a new wife. Another two weeks later, he moved in with this woman.
So while Lucie was still crying out her eyes and wondering again and again whether the separation was premature, he had fallen in love again and was happy.
“I was jealous,” she says today. “It felt like a burning knife in my heart when my daughter came back from the papal visit one day and told me about her, not telling me about the new one, but my daughter.”
Even though the split was amicable, she wished that her ex would remain single for a long time. “I know how stupid that sounds, as if I was a toddler, that his toy does not want to have it anymore, but other kids should not play with it either.” Lucie was the one who wanted the breakup.
“Once upon a time, he was my great love, our daughter was a child of choice, it was not an easy decision for us to separate, but it just could not be done, so falling in love so quickly made me feel that our marriage was hiss been worth nothing. Probably I had subconsciously hoped he would fight for us and it would all be so again as it was in its infancy. “
“I hated that my daughter was there”
But worst of all for her was that her daughter found the new woman “totally cool” and loved dad and her. “Anyway, I had to pull myself together every day to keep from crying in front of my daughter, instead of comforting my daughter, I used her as a consolation when I saw that my daughter was happy when she came back from them that was terrible, I hated it when she was there. “
Lucie was scared. Irrational fear. “The new one had my husband now, would she even grab my daughter?” she wondered. “Should I be exchanged, not just as a woman, but as a mother?”
The idea of being replaceable, and the fear of it hurt her almost more than the separation itself. “That has worn down and embittered me.”
I found it very courageous for Lucie to be so honest with me, a hitherto unfamiliar woman. And I could understand each of her sentences. After a breakup, you are extremely vulnerable, often grieving for quite a while, before life can go back to normal and turn pink.
After all, a divorce always means that a lifelong dream has burst. Two people who once promised to hold together in good times and bad times must admit that they have failed and can not live up to their promise. In some people it causes anger, in others fear and sometimes hatred of the ex-partner because they blame it for failure.
Keeping the kids out is hard
Many mothers or fathers then fail to keep their children out of these feelings, allowing them to continue to love the now separate parent. They can not accept that their child continues to love this human being, with only bare disappointment or even hatred left.
All the more admirable for me was the sentence of my table neighbor “I then decided that my child should be fine” when I asked her how she would have solved the conflict at that time.
She had talked to a friend, a psychologist whom she had not seen for a long time, after several months in which she had slammed properly and her daughter was involved in the quarrels.
“He wanted to tell me in detail what had happened between my ex, myself, and the new guy, how awful he would behave, and how much my daughter would suffer.
She listened to me for a long time, then just wanted to know one thing – if my daughter really would like to have been to dad and the new wife and that she was fine there. I had to admit that grudgingly, but wanted to immediately postpone what has happened since then. “
The acquaintance, however, did not comment at all, only asked what Lucie had against it, that her daughter was well. “That sentence totally blew me away so I had never seen it that way, that I could object to my daughter being well if I did not want her to be with her father and the new one.”
A sentence that changed everything
For Lucie, this sentence has changed everything. She suddenly realized that her daughter was suffering a lot from the conflict between mom and dad and that she herself was not innocent of it.
“I called my ex that same evening and told him I would like to talk to him and his girlfriend and if they could come over, of course they were suspicious at first, a lot had happened, but I told them the same way as now That I did not want to decide that my daughter was in bad shape, that evening we all discussed that we have a common goal – the kid should be fine. “
Today Lucies ex and the new ones are married, have two children together. Lucie herself also has a new partner, who has two adult daughters from a previous relationship. The four adults meet from time to time to do something together. “It works because we all decided that our children should be fine.”
Hats off, really. Lucie is a mother who impresses me. An ex that every stepmother can be happy about. The two have not become best friends, but respect each other and pull together.
I would wish that all parents would say after a split, “We decided that our children should be fine” – how much easier it would be then. Not just for stepmothers!
Text by Susanne Petermann, originally published on Stiefmutterblog.com .
The blog: Stiefmutterblog.com Blogger: Susanne Petermann married a man with three children from his first marriage. In her blog she gives insights into the life and the special problem of the second wife of a father. We like that: Susanne gives women a mouthpiece here, who rarely speak in the family debate. She is as honest as she is constructive. Exciting, not just for stepmothers!
Susanne Petermann has also written a new book on the subject: “You have nothing to say !: Being a stepmother is not for cowards”, 240 p., 14,99 Euro, Diana Verlag.