I believe that I have a pretty good relationship with my stepson who I know for most of his life. I think he knows that I am not trying to replace his mother, but that I am just trying to help taking care of him the best that I can. I sincerely think that there is not only mutual respect between the two of us, but there is also a lot of love.
But, I have to admit that sometimes I wish my husband's ex would not be there. It's a fantasy that probably many people in my position have entertained at a certain point of their life. Of course, this is the type of thing that we never say it out loud -- I am feeling terribly guilty for saying it here -- but, things would be so different, even easier perhaps, if my husband's ex would be in another country, or city.
It's not that I wish that something bad happens to her, it's just that I feel that life would be easier if we were not a blended family. I don't want to be too negative because things are generally fine with her. But, I don't think that too many people would disagree with me if I say that "solving a problem, it's always easy when there is less parameters in the equation"! This how I feel many times when we deal with family issues or situations regarding my stepson.
So, sometimes, I find myself dreaming about our lives without my husband's ex around.
(1) There will not be different house rules. It will facilitate (probably not solve all the issues) many things with my stepson with respect to chores and school-related issues.
(2) No more differences in terms of religious and spiritual principles. My husband is Jewish and I am Catholic. Although there are fundamental differences between these two religions, we both believe in God and believe in the importance of celebrating religious holidays together. We don't go to the church or the synagogue every week, but we teach our young 4 3/4 year-old son about God and the spiritual sides of both Catholicism and Judaism. Although we try to do the same with my stepson, he is exposed to different religious and spiritual principles in both houses.
(3) Our schedule will only be the one that matters. No more switching of days because of special occasions or social events; no more discussions with respect to who gets to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving with my stepson.
(4) No more differences in terms of life or core principles. For instance, what is wrong with the idea: "A little bit of competition never hurt anybody"; this is a core principle that we try to teach to our children in our house. Competition forces you to be a little be creative in order to stand out and it also makes you push yourself. Again, my stepson faces differences of opinion with respect to this; and believe me, there are important consequences.
Whether or not life would be easy if my husband's ex would not be there is, I suppose, questionable. The reality is that life is always complicated. Although her presence in our lives makes it sometimes more complicated, I cannot blame her for all the difficulties or issues that we face as a family.
Like anything in life, it's never the issue or situation that is the problem, but the way that we approach it.