Being a stepparent can be a complicated, challenging, and sometimes daunting relationship to navigate. And many of you are doing incredible jobs – prioritizing the children and providing good support for both your spouse and your spouse’s ex in the parenting department. Others out there? Not so much.
When I posted How to Get His Ex to Hate You, I thought I had put together a pretty comprehensive list of the major sabotage moves selfish stepparents do. But after hearing from friends and colleagues, it was clear that I had missed a few that deserve mention. So, with their input and further consideration, here are five more ways, for those of you determined to upstage Wife #1 at the expense of the children, to get his ex to hate you.
1. Beat her to the first anything. Whether it’s the first haircut, bra, or pedicure, be on the scene. Don’t spend too much time worrying about the age-appropriateness of any given activity – any delay could result in a lost opportunity to deprive her and the child of that special bonding moment that sharing firsts can bring.
2. Share the truth. Well, not the truth – your truth. For instance, if you observe a different religion that you know is inconsistent with how the children are being raised, explain why their mother is doing things wrong. Sure, the children will be confused – but undermining something that important will be a great way to tick Her off.
3. Be the new BFF. This strategy works especially well with teenagers. Sympathize with them over their mother’s ‘ridiculous’ position on dating, homework, having a cell phone and wearing revealing clothes. You may cause a dangerous situation where the child starts sneaking around, but the resulting chaos at the other home is worth the long-term problems such behavior will create for the child.
4. Share a secret. Or let them know something they’ve seen or heard at their dad’s can’t be mentioned to their mom. Ignore the gut-wrenching stress this will cause the child. If there isn’t an existing rift between your spouse and his ex, this is the perfect device to create one.
5. Make it permanent. Haircuts will grow out and firsts can be followed by potentially meaningful seconds. But tattoos and body piercings? Now there’s a couple of options that have some lasting power! Don’t worry about potential infection or other negative effects of the new additions – keep your focus on how SHE will be aware of your presence every time she lays eyes on the nostril stud or your favorite saying inked somewhere on her child’s body.
As long as there are selfish people who put their own agenda ahead of the best interest of children, there will always be opportunity to expand this list. All we need to do to change things is to have parents prioritize their children over any new love interests. Simple, right?