You’ve done everything right.
Aromatherapy essential oils have soothed both of your senses and you are relaxed.
The Himalayan Salt Lamp is providing just a touch of romantic lighting.
And your new luxurious bed sheet set that you surprised your husband with as he slid into bed are the final touch for whatever the night brings.
But, in the midst of the romance, you suddenly recognize the outline of another presence in the room and a distant panting-like sound between the loud crashes of ocean waves playing from your sound + sleep machine.
It’s your dog.
And she is patronizing you with her casual glances at your leftover “baby weight,” your favorite nightgown adorned with images of dogs and cats frolicking about, and the farmers tan that brands you as the world's most committed soccer mom ever.
For women, the feeling of inadequacy brought on by the innocent and unaware bored glances of the family dog during intimate situations with their husbands are nothing compared to the feelings stepmoms can endure.
Sometimes, insuppressible self-comparisons to her husband’s “ex” that stepmoms may experience can impede the natural progression of experimentation, bonding, and intimacy in a “remarriage” situation.
The intimacy that God gifted us as married couples to enjoy with each other.
In some couples, these comparisons can halt and capsize the marriage altogether.
In a second, or in my case, a third marriage, there is no question that your husband had intimate experiences with someone else before he married you. That’s just obvious.
But for someone like myself, who’s self-esteem has been tainted by fad diets, derogatory ex-husband comments, and a staunch religious background, the comparison game has added a whole new dimension to a marriage that is statistically an uphill battle from the beginning.
About one-fourth of all second marriages break apart within a five year period. That’s pretty scary.
And if you are letting your feelings of inadequacy by comparison to his ex keep you from displaying your love and affection towards him during your private times together, you have to take responsibility for the lack of bonding and closeness in your marriage.
For ten years, I had been excusing myself from being part of the reason why our times of intimacy were less than exciting.
Even though he has never said anything that would lead me to believe that he was comparing me in any way to his ex-wife, I always felt as though I probably wasn’t as curvaceous or uninhabited as assumed she used to be.
The interview I did with Alisa DiLorenzo from oneextraordinarymarriage.com totally caught my attention and changed the way I viewed intimacy in marriage for the last 42 years.
She challenged me on some things and made me feel as though I was more than enough for my husband.
In fact, not only was I more than enough, but because of my constant comparisons, I was missing out on a marriage that could reshape the way I felt about my own worth, my husband's love and commitment to me, and what I was teaching my children about marriage and faith.
It’s taken some time, a lot of talks with my husband who hadn’t even realized I was harboring these insecurities, and a commitment to myself and to my marriage that I won’t let this part of our relationship dwindle to realize how much I have missed out over the last ten years of our lives.
I am still working on transforming my negative comparisons to acceptance of myself when it comes to intimacy in my marriage.
But, I can honestly say, his ex-wife isn’t a threat to our intimacy anymore and the next ten years of our marriage is going to be totally different.
Do you want to watch the interview I did with Alisa DiLorenzo from oneextraordinarymarriage.com?
During the process, I questioned whether the time and money I was putting into this summit was really worth it.
I seriously considered forgetting the whole idea.
I thought, "Would it really make a difference? Is anyone really looking for resources regarding the stepmom journey or do stepmoms just accept the challenge and endure it?"
But, then I got to talk with Nicole. After my initial conversation with her, I knew that there most definitely are women who need to feel that they aren't alone.
Thanks, Nicole, for being so open with me and with all of the other stepmoms who will read your story.
I’m a 36 year old and a stepmother of 3 children. All 3 of my children go to counseling. Two of my stepchildren have major mental illnesses. Because of this and due to my own personal struggles that I’ve dealt with since I was young, I also go to counseling on a regular basis. With everything I deal with I was at my breaking point; I wanted to end my life and give up. Thank God for one of our counselors who suggested the Stepmom University to me. Stephanie Lefler (The owner and operator of Stepmom University) has an online stepmom video summit that she did that saved my life. I do not say that lightly. If I had not watched these videos and put them into practice, I truly do not know if I would be alive today. Some of the techniques they suggested I now use in my everyday life. If you are a struggling stepmom or thinking about becoming a stepmom, go through this series first. I know it is an investment to make, but in the end, the outcome will be very well worth it. There IS support out there for you!! Even if you are dealing with mental illness with your children or stepchildren, know that you are not alone! -Nicole Oshier
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