You read that right…My husband’s exwife lives with us and has lived with us for the past 3 years. I know all too well the flabbergasted expression that has appeared on your face so I will give you a moment to read that again and get over your shock… It is understandably hard for most people to process and I am sure you are struggling to wrap your head around the fact that my husband’s exwife lives with us.
Let me just start by saying, I know this is definitely not the norm and I would never expect this to be the case for anyone else. If you had told me 12 years ago when I
married my husband that we would be sharing a home with his exwife, I would have promptly rolled my eyes and laughed at you and I am pretty sure she would have done the same.
This wasn’t planned. It started out as a temporary situation but I quickly realized that my husband’s exwife was becoming a part of our daily family life that I quite appreciated and I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual. And before you go asking, we are not polygamist in any way and there is absolutely no ‘funny” business going on between us so get your mind out of the gutter.
Most people that find out that my husband’s exwife lives with us can’t quite seem to comprehend how it works. But once you get to know all of us you can better understand our family dynamics and see how this makes sense for us.
We have 8 kids between us (4 of which live under the same roof with us), my husband travels often with little warning or preparation time and when he isn’t traveling he still works long and unpredictable hours. As glamourous as people may believe it is to be an actor, it is a challenging lifestyle for a family to navigate.
When he is not working, which can sometimes be long stretches of time,
he is a fulltime parent and it is difficult to keep a fulltime nanny on board when we can’t promise them fulltime hours on a regular basis. Furthermore, my husband and I prefer our children to be with family or close friends when they are not with us and neither one of us have immediate family nearby. His exwife was a fulltime homemaker for their 4 children and now has an empty nest.
I can’t speak for my husband’s exwife but I think it’s fair to say that she finds our living arrangement mutually beneficial. At the end of the day, my husband and his exwife have children together and they will be forever connected to each other. And since I married him, I am in turn connected to her. And frankly…She is our family and there is no one else that better understands how this works.
She has demonstrated an incredible level of respect and acceptance towards me and I have the utmost respect and appreciation for her. She has given me the space to establish my
own relationships with her four children and she has loved my children like her own. We have been a tremendous support system for each other over the years and we proudly refer to each other as “sisterwife”… again minus any of the funny business.
As we have navigated our blended family through the years, all of us have been able to step back and see the bigger picture. It has taken some time, growth, understanding and maturity to get to this point but I truly believe that everyone involved has gotten the best out of what could be a very difficult situation.
The fact is most
divorces are filled with anger, hurt, and blame and it is hard to navigate for everyone involved. The idea of moving forward with all of that bubbling beneath the surface can seem unfathomable. Then adding a new wife or husband to the mix only leads to even more challenges.
But if the adults involved take the steps needed to heal and forgive, things don’t have to remain messy, hard and complicated.
I know people will judge our situation and put their own hangups on us. And I will admit moving in together is not the logical answer for most people. But at the end of the day, other people’s opinions cannot define our family.
We have chosen to act out of love, respect and the best interest of everyone in our family and create our own version of what a blended family can look like. My husband’s exwife living with us works for us and I hope our example encourages other blended families to find ways they can all work together to be a stronger family unit.
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Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper, selfcare advocate and founder of The Mom Forum.
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