A client came in complaining of her husband's inability to set boundaries with his ex-wife and his kids. She wanted to create their own family without his past getting in the way.
A client came in complaining of her husband's inability to set boundaries with his ex-wife and his kids. She wanted to create their own family without his past getting in the way. She could only see the negative in the situation, even though she’d admit to there being a lot of positives and that she loved him dearly. She knew that he was divorced and had 3 children. It’s like she knew it yet didn’t fully acknowledge it…
His ex-wife struggles with addiction and all the chaos that tends to go with that. He fell in love with my client, his current wife, because of her strength, adventurous nature, organization and love of life. Now they found themselves in my therapy room.
In our sessions, the couple redefined love and commitment so that it would include acceptance of the fact he had previous children while she had none. It took her some time to acknowledge her role in the conflict: her insistence on him being only hers. Once she was able to come to that awareness, she became more open to defining and implementing what their unique ‘blended family’ could and would look like. She allowed herself to love his kids and became more available to them as they struggled with adolescence. She set rules in the house that were loving, yet firm. His lack of discipline with the kids was about guilt: that he left their mother, that he loved someone else now, that he was creating a new family. For him, the awareness was about acknowledging that guilt and forgiving himself.
Forgiveness was a key component of their successful transition to a blended family. They have now been married over 15 years and have 2 daughters of their own, and his 3 children have become her children too. They have family dinners, gatherings, vacations and sweet memories.