Let’s be clear, blended families are not new phenomena. We see it talked about online and now we have this belief that elders didn’t have entire families (or children) that we did not know about until we hit adult age. Nothing about this is new. I repeat, blended families and co-parenting relationships were not started with the dawn of millennial families.
I personally have friends (and family members) that have dated someone that had children outside of their relationship. I have found that peace and harmony in co-parenting and blended families are not that hard to attain. It’s only a problem when there is drama. When the drama is present, that doesn’t help make things any easier for all parties involved. The challenge isn’t being with someone that has a baby mama/daddy. The only challenge is that people don’t understand and stick to their role within the co-parenting relationship or blended family. Which ends up causing baby mama/daddy drama. So, you are dating someone that has this kind of drama? Well, let’s get into how to navigate baby mama and baby daddy drama so that you understand your role.
STEP 1: Find Out Why There Is Drama
The first thing that you want to do is take a step back to find out why there is drama. Remove your personal emotions from the equation.
POSSIBLE REASON #1: Is your partner involved with their baby mama/daddy physically?
One of the most common reason’s is because s/he is still involved physically with their baby mama/daddy. However, there could be three reasons as to why s/he is still entertaining and/or involved with them:
- S/he’s doing it for the child: Unfortunately, there are relationships where the Compatibility and Chemistry were not checked prior to allowing things to get serious. In other cases, there are one-off situations that had to turn serious after the confirmation of unborn life. So, one (or both parties) decided to enter a relationship for the sake of their unborn child. Fathers typically continue in relationships with the mother of their child(ren) because they are afraid of their child(ren) being used against them; this is usually referred to as a “package deal”. The mother will indirectly communicate that if the father does not want her, then he has to jump through ridiculous hoops to see their child(ren) because they are a “package deal”. A large amount of baby mama/drama stems from the “package deal” scenario.
- S/he feels guilty for what happened in the relationship or how it ended: If the relationship was tumultuous and toxic, then one (or both parties) may feel that things should have ended differently. Therefore, they both may continue to entertain one another beyond a co-parenting level because of familiarity.
- S/he still loves her: Listen, this doesn’t need any explanation. Let’s be clear, your partner should have love and respect for their child’s parent. However, it should not flow into physical relations that cause your partner to go back and forth between you and their baby mama/daddy.
POSSIBLE REASON #2: Is the baby mama/daddy just jealous or bitter?
If this is the possible reason that there is drama, then the underlying root of this is that they are jealous of you (or the union that you have with your partner). There are tell-tale signs of jealousy and bitterness:
- Talks negatively about you to others: Instead of telling you how they feel directly, they involve others and attempt to turn them against you. In turn, they create minions to do their dirty work while their hands remain clean.
- Always talking about their past relationship and etc. : If you are attempting to converse with them about an issue you have with them, they may go back to the relationship that they had with your partner. They may attempt to make you feel insecure about your relationship by pretending that they know more about your partner than you do.
- Lacks boundaries and respect: If they attempt to create issues with the child for attention, show up unexpectedly, call at inappropriate hours for non-emergencies and involve others in the co-parenting affairs, then this is a lack of boundaries.
- Very intrusive and wants to know about your personal business (whether asking their baby daddy/mama directly or by asking others): At no point should the baby mama/daddy know details about your relationship. If they start to go out of their way to ask your partner, other people within your social circles or past mutual friends about your personal affairs, then this is a sign of overstepping boundaries as well.
Let’s be clear, the baby mama/daddy may have a valid reason to be upset with your partner. However, that should never involve how they treat you.
STEP 2: Get A Better Understanding Of Their Dynamic
In order to understand how the baby mama/daddy is going to co-parent (or not), you have to understand the dynamic that existed in their past relationship with your partner/spouse.
- Did they respect one another?
- Did they discuss disagreements and come to a resolution?
- Did they have healthy boundaries?
- Did they have shared responsibilities with their child?
- Did they do little things to show affection and love (like flowers, cards)?
- Did they exercise emotional intelligence within their relationship?
- Did they validate one another’s feelings and take accountability with an apology?
- Did they express feelings directly?
- Did they involve others in the relationship?
Overall, the goal of step two is not for you to take control, but for you to be empathic and understanding of the now. You have to understand that you may be dealing with a hostile, avoidant dynamic that was normal for the two of them.
STEP 3: Attempt To Establish Respect And Boundaries
Above all, whether their baby mama/daddy wants to admit it: your role in their child’s life is very important. You are an adult that has the power to influence and impact their child. Therefore, they should want to have a relationship with you, if not simply because of the love that they have for their child(ren).
- Allow your partner/spouse to ensure that there are boundaries and respect. Remove your personal feelings from the equation and allow your partner/spouse the room to handle their affairs. Therefore, ensure that they know you are open to meeting and building a relationship with their baby mama/daddy.
- If the baby mama/baby daddy wants to meet with you, then you can choose to do so at your discretion (optional)
- Keep the topic about the children and never about their past and/or your relationship with your partner/spouse.
- If you meet them for the first time and they make the entire conversation about their past relationship with your partner/spouse, then allow them to express themselves (optional). There may still be unresolved feelings there and they may be looking for closure through you.
- Again, remove your emotions from the situation and remember that there are innocent beings in the middle of this scenario.
- If the baby mama/daddy feels slighted, be the bigger person and apologize — even if you do not see an issue with what you said. If they disrespect you by involving others into the situation, social media warfare or by manipulation of the facts, remember that there are innocent beings in the middle of the scenario. Allow your partner/spouse to complete #1 in this line-up because it is not your place to do so for them.
STEP 4: Establish Trust With Your Partner/Spouse
You will know from the very beginning if your mate wants to establish trust between the two of you when it comes to a person that they were once romantically involved with and have to interact with for the rest of their life. They will willingly speak with their baby mama/daddy while you are around. Your partner won’t hide messages or any conversations that have taken place because nothing disrespectful has happened.
Remember, allow your partner/spouse to handle their affairs. You can not get involved because that may be the ammo that their baby mama/daddy is looking for to use against your partner/spouse.
Always remain respectful to the baby mama/daddy. You do not want to have anything to regret on down the line.
It is very normal for you both to experience some form of jealousy. The baby mama/daddy had a large part of your partner’s life at one point and now you have it today. It is not out of the norm for you both to feel a way about this fact.
Attempt to develop some form of relationship with the baby mama/daddy. Even if it is just an understanding of respecting the love you pour into their child.
Keep the lines of communication open with your partner. ALWAYS. Your feelings, wants and needs are just as important. Do not ever sacrifice expressing how you feel because this will lead to resentment.
What needs to be understood about parenthood is that every decision you make will inevitably impact your children. We would like to think that years on down the line we can have that “difficult conversation” to clarify the decisions that we made, but that isn’t always guaranteed. So, remember that there is a child being impacted by the decisions that all three of you are making today.
Check out my Relationships section for more of this series!
C O N N E C T – W I T H – M E