On Season 3 of Black Love on Own TV, my husband, Michael Beach, and I shared that his ex-wife lives with us and our 4 children.
I don’t know how many times you just reread that but you read it correctly the first time…My husband’s ex-wife lives with us.
I know it is very hard for people to comprehend our living situation. It’s quite a bit “out of the box” and not what most people picture when they think of divorce and blended families. And many responded on social media with a resounding “Hell naw!” I get it and I would have probably said the same thing if anyone had told me this when I married my husband 12 years ago.
But before you go passing judgement on the fact that my husband’s ex-wife lives with us, here is what you should know.
We Are A Family
First and foremost, we see ourselves as one large family. There is no her and us. It is we. Call it extended family, blended family or anything else. What matters is that we do this family thing together as one unit. Holidays, birthdays, graduations, important events… If it involves one of us, we try our best to make sure we are there to support as a family.
The way I see it, when I married my husband, his ex-wife and children came along as part of a package deal. I knew that there was never going to be time where she was not a part of the picture and I respected and accepted that. I truly believe that if any second marriage that involves kids is going to survive, the new wife must be mature enough to accept this fact.
We Respect And Support Each Other
This all stems from healthy boundaries and respectful relationships. It’s not about our egos. We are each other’s support system and it benefits all of us. I have the utmost respect for her and we refer to each other as “sister-wife” without any funny business involved.
We are each other’s allies. We are here for her, she is here for us and we are all here for the kids. And if anyone is getting the worst of it, it’s probably my husband when me and his ex-wife gang up on him and tell him about himself.
We Are Not Polygamist
I personally think this is a silly assumption but I guess it’s fair. So just to clear everything up…We are definitely not polygamist or polyamorous or any form of poly anything. None of us are down with that idea.
She has her own separate space on the opposite side of the house. We respect her personal life and she respects our personal life. Believe it or not, it is possible for exes to have a loving and mutually respectful relationship that does not include sex or sexual attraction in any way. If I could not trust that my husband and his ex-wife have moved on with their relationship there would be so many other problems.
It’s About The Kids
As a child of divorce, I know that the kids involved in a divorce and remarriage often pay the biggest price for the decisions the adults make. They tend to be the ones left to make plans and adjustments to accommodate the egos and feelings of the adults that created the situation. And none of us wanted that for our kids.
Even when we didn’t live together, we always presented a united front to the kids. We showed up at events as a family and tried our best to never involve the kids in any disagreements or negative talk.
I love my step-kids like my own and my husband’s ex-wife has always given me the space to develop my own relationship with them. And my kids adore her and she treats them as her own. They even refer to her as “ex-mom” which we think is rather hilarious.
I know some people will read this and still pass judgement on our living situation. And that’s ok because at the end of the day we are doing what is best for our family. But I share this to show that divorce and blended families don’t have to be filled with anger, hurt and drama. No matter the current state of things, every blended family has the opportunity to create a more positive situation for everyone involved. It requires people to see beyond their pride and ego and let go of resentment and anger. But the opportunity to make your blended family a stronger family unit is well worth the work.
Elisha Beach is a birth mom of 3, adoptive mom of 1 and a stepmom of 4 step-“adults.”. Yes, you read that right… 8 kids a.k.a a professional mom complete with a B.A. in Child Development. She is a blogger of mom truth at Themom-forum.com, author of The Mom Selfcare Planner and host of The Mom Forum Podcast. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.