“If I knew what I was getting into, I would have never married you”

2 Aug

Would you have married him if someone told you what you had in store?

 

Being in a stepfamily is not for the faint hearted.  There are issues with the children, issues with ex-spouses and sometimes, there are issues with between you and DH.  I’ve heard women say more than once on stepmom support sites:  “If I knew what I was getting into, I would have run the other way.”  Some of us have even said that to our husbands/partners.  

Think about it for a moment.  Did you know what you were getting into?  Did you know that your stepchildren would ignore you in your own home?  Did you know that BM would constantly throw herself at DH in an attempt to lure him back?  Did you know that you’d become well-versed in the family court system because of the number of times you’ve had to go back for child support or custody hearings?  Did you realize you’d be a victim of Parental Alienation Syndrome?   

Many stepmoms that I know have had their bags packed and have threatened to leave or have left for some time (or permanently) when they’ve had it with the drama that often accompanies a stepfamily.  We share our stories, find the common thread and then wonder what do to.  Is the conflict manageable enough that you should you dig in your heels and stay or is it so out of control that you need to get out in order to maintain your sanity and reclaim your self-esteem?  

If you could’ve looked into a crystal ball and seen your future, would you REALLY have run the other way?  

Oddly enough in the middle of writing this post, I picked up Allison Winn Scotch’s “Time of My Life”.  Without giving too much away, let’s just say the book is about “do-overs”.  It has nothing to do with stepfamilies, but everything to do with what I’ve heard myself mutter more than once about several issues in my life: “If I knew how this was all going to turn out, would I make the same decisions?”  (Note: great read if you’ve asked yourself this question more than once)  

DH has said, “I wish I would have met you twenty years ago.”  I remind him that our current bliss wouldn’t be a reality if we didn’t go through what we did in our former marriages.  My 14-year old son has asked me, “Do you regret marrying Dad?”  And I always say, “Not for one moment because I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I like who I am!”  I’d change my reaction to a few things here and there, but I wouldn’t walk away from what would be the dismal failure of my first marriage (or my out-of-control teens or twenties for that matter).   

I remember very clearly the first time I said to DH, “If I knew what I had to deal with before I fell in love with you, I would have run like Hell the other way”.  It blindsided him and hurt his feelings and that’s exactly the intended effect that I wanted.  I wanted to jolt him to seeing all the issues that lay in front of us without an end in sight.  It was a sobering moment in our relationship.  

Once I did the “Stepmom Stepback”, I had to rethink what I said to DH.  Would I leave if I knew what was in store for me?  Now that I’ve changed the way I think, adjusted my expectations and stopped reacting, the answer is no.  I wouldn’t leave.  Stepping back has given me a whole new perspective (it also helps that DH and are perfectly matched and absolutely nuts about each other).  We’re definitely stronger as a team:  his über-calmness coupled with my “shoot first, ask questions later” attitude helps us to get to workable and more realistic solutions fairly quickly. He calms me down and I fire him up.  We’re a good pair and both devoted to making this work despite the grenades that get hurled in our direction.   

I look at it this way:  I can let the drama destroy me and my relationship with DH and run for the hills, or I can use it to strengthen our bond.  I’ve chosen the latter.  Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not the patron saint of stepmothers and there are times that the issues make me want to scream expletives loud enough that the neighbors can hear, but I haven’t felt the compulsion to pack my bags (or throw his stuff out on the porch) for a very, very  long time.   

What about you?  Have you said, “If I knew what I was getting into, I would have never married you?” or something to that effect to your husband?  How do you decide whether to stay or get out?

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One Response to ““If I knew what I was getting into, I would have never married you””

  1. Erin August 3, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Had I known what I was getting into, I would have stayed with my guy but I wouldn’t have married him. I think about this every once in a while and wonder if I made the right choice. The “benefits” wouldn’t be any different: I don’t have a say in the kids’ welfare, can’t take them to doctor’s appointments or check on them at school.

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