Originally Posted by bits and bobs
Look I don't know if I even really believe it myself but to me it just seems soooo hard to be in a relationship when there are kids and exes and custody issues. You start on a back foot. You have to blend things that maybe weren't meant to be or aren't ready to be blended.
Why not foucs on raising the children, away from the distractions of a new relationship? Instead of the kids having to figure out new daddy, new step-sibs, new abode, new everything...why not grow them up a bit first?
It IS hard. Very hard. And it's true; you do start aways behind the starting line. There are handicaps. My DH and I were parenting from the moment we met. We never had those years in the beginning to form our relationship before we were mom and dad. We had to forge our relationship with each other, and simultaneously become step-parents, he to my DD and DS, me to his DS. Every step-family is built on a loss, either a break-up or a divorce, and occasionally a death.
I was single for almost 3 years when I met my DH. I had a good life that I had built for me and my children. I worked hard at a tolerable job and went to school on the days when my kids were with their dad. I had a good social life - close friends, a wonderful church, my parents close by. And I occasionally had a dream at night when I was screaming my face off to people in the library, "Won't anybody ever touch me?" I had friends, sure, plenty of good relationships, no shortage of people to talk to, but I needed a primary companion, a partner. I was so achingly lonely I found it hard to breathe sometimes. It would have been very wrong of me to try to fill that void with my children.
As difficult as it was in those early years, my DH and I have been married for over 9 years. I believe that our marriage is a gift to them. My ex-husband has been married and divorced twice more since our divorce. SS's mom moves out of her husband's house in a fit of anger at least twice a year. For all our struggles, my husband and I have shown our kids the meaning of real devotion and love. Plus, of course, we've met our own needs, and when our children are grown and gone (in just a few years the eldest will graduate from HS), we'll get those "just us" years we've never had.
So why? The same reason I had kids, even though they're expensive, messy, noisy, and often seriously annoying: for love. Because as awful as parenting can be sometimes, love is deeper than the awfulness most of the time.
Originally Posted by bits and bobs
If you read here, so many women talk of the difficult ex-spouse. No one talks about how lovely and wise and fab that ex is. It just adds another level of hassle for your kids to be exposed to another man's issues whether he be at fault or not.
I'll answer this, because I'm one of those people who complains bitterly about my DH's ex-spouse. It's no big secret that I can't stand her. First, most of the misery there happened in the first 2-3 years. She finally learned that I wasn't going anywhere, and I finally learned how to avoid setting her off. My kids (incl. SS) have been pretty unaware of the craziness that has gone on over their heads. They're old enough now (almost 16, almost 14, and 12) to tell us what they remember, and they didn't know about the fighting and such. They do remember when my ex and DH's ex dated because they took them all places together (serious lapse of judgment on their part, but what could we do?), and they knew that there was something very not right about that, but they never heard the fighting or any of the rest. DH and I had our conversations about all of it behind closed doors.
As for whether or not people who have been divorced are somehow faulty models or "broken", my first marriage brought out the worst in my AND my ex. We're both better people now than we were when we were together. Ditto DH. The man that SS's mom describes to me as her ex-husband bears little resemblance to the man I know and love. FTR, nobody in either of those former marriages cheated, was addicted to drugs, or abused anybody. We were just miserable and wrong for each other.