Stepmoms and the R Word- RELATE

As I have more conversations with clients regarding what they desperately want from their partners, I realized more recently how to put it simply. Stepmoms, unless your partner has been a stepparent, they will not relate to you in this subject. They may observe, have thoughts and feelings, perhaps acknowledge, and maybe even support you, but they will NOT relate to you unless they have done it themselves!

This seems to aggravate us stepmoms to no end. We say we want support and for them to relate to us. Aaaand when they fail to do so, our partnerships begin or continue to fail as well. Here’s the deal. It is INCREDIBLY important and really the key to significant changes in your relationship dynamics in a blended family. Simply stating that you want your partner to understand, relate, and support you will not cut it. First, each of those words have their own definitions. Each must be experientially defined for you. You need to be able to paint a very descriptive picture of what those words mean WITHOUT using vague words. If you are unable to clearly define words you throw around and say you want them, you will not get them.

To understand does not mean they will suddenly agree with or have the same feelings as you. To understand means they are curious and ask you intelligent questions about your experience without conclusions or judgement. Ask yourself if this is what they have been doing, but maybe because they don’t agree with you, you continue to be pissed off.

To relate means they are having a similar experience as you. News flash- they aren’t, with the exception of being a stepparent themselves. Sure, they may have some of the same responses to situations or thoughts/feelings about their past choices that have helped create their/your current blended family reality, but they are not going to know exactly what it is like to walk into a broken up family, deal with blended family uncertainties, or what it’s like to take on the responsibility of living with, let alone raising someone else’s children. THE TASK IS AND WILL NOT BE AN EASY EXPERIENCE- just as life in general tends to be.

To support is subjective. That is why it is crucial to define experientially what support looks like and feels like to you. Your partner cannot read your mind, no matter how much you two believe you are soulmates or have been together for 50+ years. The point is that YOU are responsible for clearly defining your needs, meeting them, and then asking your partner for the SUPPLEMENTAL support. They are not responsible to parent you in any way. If you display such behavior, you are likely a codependent, and this is another topic to explore on your self growth journey.

The point of this is that you are responsible for you. When you are able to clearly define words and how they relate to your experience, you can begin practicing them. You can ask for what you want without being demanding or belittling. You will learn to be your own individual with a whole load of self love and worth. As you practice, you will notice how the inner shifts are responsible for creating the outer shifts that you’ve been desperately trying to control but nothing has changed overtime. We’ve all heard the phrase about the power in each of us… well it’s true. Don’t say you know if you haven’t mastered and are continuing to practice in your daily human existence.

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