Stepmoms: Quit Comparing Yourself to Your Partner’s Ex!

I’ve ALWAYS obsessed with comparing myself to my husband’s ex and now I’m making it public. I fixated on her looks, parenting skills, her previous and current relationship with my husband, her hatred for me. The list goes on and on.

This preoccupation has taken much of my time, happiness, and health. Am I the only stepmom dealing with this inner torment or are you reading because you share the same struggle? Here are some of my hang-ups:

  • Is she prettier than me?
  • Why would my husband put his ex first over me?
  • Why did my husband marry her?
  • Was his married relationship better with her or me?
  • Is she a better mother than me?
  • Is she more successful than me?

It’s time to quit comparing yourself to your partner’s – there’s no comparison.

Recently, my husband went to court with his ex for a child support modification. It was a difficult day for us and we had many sleepless nights prior to the hearing. We entered the courtroom united with our attorney; his ex entered unrepresented and the judge came in with her assistant. I had a slight bout of sympathy for his ex, alone without any support, even though she recently married.

As the hearing proceeded, his ex answered embarrassing questions, her facial reactions turned rigid, and her body language was noticeably uncomfortable.

It was then I realized I had nothing to worry about. And it was one of those “AHA MOMENTS” that caused me to re-examine some of my previous hang-ups about her.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Your Partner’s Ex In THESE 6 Areas

Is she prettier than me?

Yes, my husband’s ex is a beautiful woman. For years, I tortured myself asking my husband why he’d selected me, an average-looking woman, when he could have attracted someone better-looking. Even his ex continued to chase him for years after we married. But he still only looked at me.

We were chosen by our partners because of the beauty we possess inside as well as outside.

My husband often tells me how pretty I am. He’s also a firm believer that pretty on the outside doesn’t equal a beautiful soul. Looks can be fleeting.

Be confident about who you are and know your partner is attracted to you, for all the reasons you love one another. Don’t let anyone make you feel “less than” and keep your head high when dealing with his ex. What I witnessed at court that day was a woman who radiated so much bitterness her beauty became invisible.

Why would my husband put his ex first over me?

My husband had a hard transition when we married. It was difficult for him start a new life with me – even though she left him years earlier. He found it hard to tell his ex no.

She knew he valued loyalty and would take advantage of that quality, which impacted our first few years of our marriage. In fact, his loyalty (to his ex) almost cost us our marriage.

Once we became unified as a couple, no one could stop us!

When he had to go back to court to modify child support, we worked together and it solidified our relationship. Join forces with your partner and never give up no matter the circumstance.

Why did my partner marry her?

I am completely different than my husband’s ex. But he changed over the course of his marriage and after his divorce, he looked for different qualities in his subsequent relationships.

Don’t waste your time worrying about this one!

Remember, your spouse’s past choices aren’t about you.

The success of a good marriage is when a couple can change and mature together, set common goals, and honor each other with love and respect. Be a strong partner for your mate, carry your share of the responsibilities, and expect the same in return.

We may not be their first choice but we are the one they choose every day now.

linda black

Was his married relationship better with her or me?

Admit it, you’ve wondered about this. I know I’ve been curious. Did he love her more than he loves me? Was he closer to her than me? What are the secrets they will always share that I won’t ever know? Are you curious, too?

His love for you grows every day. His love for her died years ago.

At court, I observed two people who no longer knew each other. They were two people who once were extremely close but now have grown so far apart that they couldn’t relate to one another.

His love for her was gone. And of course, it was different than the love he has for me. We need to remember, our partners have matured and learned many valuable lessons from their pasts. Their relationship with us is an evolution and rewarding in different ways than past relationships. We may not be their first choice but we are the one they choose every day now.

Is she a better mother than me?

I am not a perfect mother. Every day I make mistakes with my children and stepkids, as we all do. At the beginning of our relationship, my husband would tell me his ex was a good mother.

Yet I would see behaviors and choices from her that seemed completely foreign to mine.

His ex is the best mother she can be. I’m the best stepmother I can be.

It’s important we understand people parent from their experiences and how they were raised. I will never be a biological or legal mother to my stepkids, but I will always be there to encourage, love, and guide them. I will always have a permanent place in their lives. As my relationship grew with my husband, he and his kids started to see a difference in parenting styles between his ex and me. Teach your kids to honor and respect all their parents (biological, adoptive, and step).

Is she more successful than me?

This was a definite eye-opener in court. I came to realize that her success was not something I had to worry about. I saw the value of my own achievements. I was happy with where my choices had led me. Her choices were not important or relevant anymore.

We are responsible for our own choices, direction, and happiness.

Not many people will view life the same as you. In life, you will find people smarter than you, more or less liberal/conservative than you, and people who blame the world for their situation. We can only control our outcomes by educating ourselves in areas that allow us to successfully function in life. We are responsible for our own happiness.

I’m not saying I will permanently stop comparing myself to his ex. I don’t know if I truly can stop completely. But, I now understand who I am to my husband. I see more clearly what his life was like with his ex and how much he values the life he is building with me. Doubting your partner or why they choose you is negativity we don’t need in our lives.

Embrace your family, cherish your partner, and give yourself a break.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this or any other stepfamily issue, CLICK HERE to join us inside the Stepfamily Circle, where we provide monthly coaching and resources to help you tackle every. single. issue. you’re facing.