When people get married in their 30’s and 40’s, more often than not one or both parties are going to be bringing some “baggage” into the relationship. When I say “baggage” I am referring to exes and children by exes. Please note that I say “baggage” in the most loving way possible.
My husband’s ex and I get along great. In fact, we e-mail almost everyday. We didn’t start out that way (that’s a story for another day) but now we actually communicate much more often (and much more effectively) than she and my husband do.
This probably sounds CRAZY to those of you who deal with baby mama/daddy and ex-wife/husband drama, but when I realized that I was going to have a step-daughter I decided that I would do anything in my power to get along with her mother, and hopefully even have a good relationship.
Why did I think this was even possible? Well it’s going to sound kinda crazy, but it’s because of Jada Pinkett-Smith. When I was dating my husband and it was looking like we were going to get married I read an article about her or saw an interview with her, something…anyway, in it she talked about how when she married Will Smith (and especially after she had her first child with him) she decided to make sure that Will’s son from his first marriage AND his son’s mother really felt like part of the family. She wanted to make sure that they could all spend holidays together, attend football games together, etc., without any drama. I recently saw them all on Oprah, and that is exactly what they have done.
I thought her idea sounded great and I hoped that Titi (I have altered her nickname for this blog) and I would be able to get along well and maybe even become friends. And well, we do, and we are.
I think that now more than ever it’s important that we get along well. After all, we have children that are siblings! What has always been the most important thing to both of us was that her daughter feels comfortable with the situation. Since we get along and actually genuinely like each other her daughter doesn’t have to pick sides or feel sad or stressed about the situation. She already had to deal with her parents splitting-up, how could we allow ourselves to make things worse for her?
Recently my husband dubbed his ex “Tia (aunt) Titi”. I love it. I think he may have originally said it as a joke, but we have started calling her that. I want my son and her daughter to know that we are all one big family.
For those of you who are thinking that this started out as a good situation and that’s the reason we can be friends, let me tell you that it didn’t. I won’t go into details (at least not now) but she and my husband didn’t have a nice clean break and then a year later I came into the picture. It was much messier and more complicated than that. In addition she and her daughter still live with my in-laws. So you do the math, we have had to overcome and get past a lot.
We are the adults and our children come first.