The Fusion Family


Please visit my new web-site I have moved my activities, so this blog will no longer be updated

A while ago I had a good chat with an old girlfriend. We talked about her boyfriend’s ex. My friend was completely devastated and cried because of the ex-wife.

She had been so ‘thoughtless’ to ask her boyfriend how his ex-wife looked like, which to he honestly replied – “She’s beautiful.” The answer struck her out completely, but she did not stop there. She also asked to ex-wife’s figure and was told that it was what you would probably called the ideal female body.

In itself an innocent question, as her boyfriend – unaware of the pervasive impact and still in a good mood – honestly answered.

My friend heard more than the phrase – “She is beautiful and has an ideal body.” She also “heard” her boyfriend say – “She’s beautiful, and you are not. She has the perfect body, and you don’t. I have to settle with you. If you want to keep me, you have to do something about yourself, otherwise I will leave you. ”

Do you recognize the feeling of having asked that question about your boyfriend’s ex and not want to hear the answer or know the truth about? (I can tell you it took my girlfriend more than half a year before she made peace with the answers.)

I can! I’ve done it again and again. Isn’t it interesting? Although I should know better, I often fall into the trap.


Because we will seek confirmation of our own worth and our boyfriend’s love for us through his-hopefully – criticism of the ex because we compare ourselves to her. We need to know that he wants us MORE than he ever wanted her.

She was better at cooking than us?
Was she better at sex than us?
She was more successful than us? etc.

Does our boyfriend in reality really like his ex better? Maybe he wants her back.

The concepts about the ex can be so overwhelming that they feel real. But it is fare from reality. They are simply a product of our imagination.

The good thing is that you can do something about it. You can start practicing being a curious observer instead of an obsessed lover.

What actually happens inside my head? Ask yourself the following questions:

• What did my boyfriend really say/do?
• What are the facts here?
• Is there anything I need to say to my boyfriend about my feelings?
• What do I need for my boyfriend do/say so I can get rid of those feeling?
• What can I do right now to change the focus?

You can practice being aware and honest about what is going on. When you finish this exercise you must do something for yourself, something that makes you happy.

Practice how to ask for a compliment from your boyfriend if you feel that you are about to turn into “ex-monster” person.

I received the following question from a danish mother and think that is a very common issue among parents to younger children.

Five years ago I got divorced and is now living alone with my daughter, who’s five and a half years old.

My boyfriend of two years (he is 41 years old and I’m 38 years old) moved in with us in December, and now the question concerns my daughter’s access to our bedroom.

I feel really bad about saying NO to her, but my boyfriend insists that she MUST knock and we would have to say “Come in” before she can enter. He instructed her to do, yet she has come in to our bedroom without knocking a few times and he got furious.

Last night he told me he would severely reprimand her, if she did it again. That announcement made me completely perplexed and now I cannot figure out how to proceed. What is right and what is reasonable?!? She usually NEVER comes into the bedroom, only if she cannot get the TV turned on so she can watch her shows.

What would you do in this situation?


My answer:
Thank you so much for your mail.

Since you and your boyfriend just moved in together in December, is probably why your daughter is starting to come into the bedroom, if she has not done so previously.

She might have sensed that you have your “own” space there, which she is not a part of and will unconsciously try to make sure that you still have room for her.

You can secure her in this feeling, that there is room for her still by briefly – just 5 to 10 minutes in between – letting her snuggle between you and your boyfriend and then send her into her own bed. It is important that it is between you and your boyfriend – not just you, so she doesn’t feel she has to “compete” with your boyfriend for your attention.
This actually has a major emotional value, when you can show her with words and by action that you both chose her. Additionally you should give her some time to get adjusted to the new situation and her new role – that she is no longer alone with you.

I assume that the reason your daughter has to knock on the door is that you and your boyfriend want to have privacy, when it comes to your sex life and that you or your boyfriend are afraid of that she suddenly will be standing in the middle of the bedroom.
Therefore I think knocking on the door is a good solution, but she should not be reprimanded, if she forgets to knock. Just continue to remind her to knock before entering.
You should support your boyfriend in doing this, since I do not think it is an unreasonable demand from him. You can do this by asking your daughter to knock, preferably in the presence of your boyfriend, so you show her that it is something you both have decided.

If it is because you are having sex, you can lock the door and just explain to her that it’s the same as when you go to the bathroom, you want privacy, and that’s why the door is locked for a little while.
You may with an adult mindset experience the locked door as a rejection of her, but it’s not, it is just showing her where your boundaries are and how you want things to be.

You could introduce the same knocking rule with her bedroom door and you and your boyfriend would have to knock on her door when it is closed. This way you show that you respect each other.

Try to not to make the closed door a big issue, both in regards to yourself and your daughter, so that all three of you will function well in your new blended family.

I hope you find my answer helpful and I wish you all the very best blended family life.


I had my article from a danish newpaper translated for your inspiration.

You can use my principles with any joint party you have to throw  with your ex’.

Here we go:

The dreaded confirmation party with yours, mine and our children and all the exes need not be a source of quarrels and tears. The Fusion Family Coach Charlotte Egemar Kaaber gives tips for how the big party can be a success in spite of family relations. Kaaber wrote the book “The Fusion Family – How to succeed with your blended family” released in the U.S. in April 2011.

Quarrels, tears, compromise, jealousy and grief are part of reality in many divorced families when the teenager has his/her confirmation. And if the parents have formed new families, it is even more difficult to succeed. But it can be done.

– “It requires all adults around the child to consciously work on practicing inclusiveness, challenge the negative feelings towards the exes and his/her new family and decide that you will make an effort to have a good party despite all complications” says Charlotte Egemar Kaaber, continuing:

– “I’m not saying that it is easy. But I say that it is feasible. ”

In her book Kaaber establishes six game rules for the life of a successful blended family, and the same rules apply to a successful family union:

  • Clean up in our ‘baggage’
  • Define a goal
  • Be aware
  • Reconcile expectations
  • Know the pitfalls
  • Accept that things are not optimal

These rules must then be clarified and applied in the planning of a joint confirmation celebration, and the other set  of parent must agree to collaborate. Not an easy task.

One or two parties?
By having one party with all relatives included, the child will not miss out on having the other parent present – according to Charlotte Egemar Kaaber – this is preferable. But if cooperation with the other parent is unattainable, you should clarify whether it is possible to bury the hatchet – if nothing else, before and during the confirmation party. Otherwise, the bad vibrations destroy the day for the child, and then it would be better to celebrate the confirmation twice by having two parties.

– “Often we use so much energy complaining, being angry, hurting or worse by being at ‘war’ with the exes. Difficult divorces can create violent emotions and drain our energy. And before you know it you only focus on the ‘danger’ of a joint confirmation celebration, “says Charlotte Egemar Kaaber.

Whatever the underlying cause of resistance to a joint celebration is, the thoughts and speculation about the horror of the joint arrangement will in most cases be much worse than in reality. To engage constructively with your opponent, you can ask yourself these questions:

● What am I deep down afraid of?
● What is the worst that can happen? And how can I minimize the risk of it happening?
● What is the best thing that could happen?
● How will I feel afterwards IF I were able to have a joint party?

Should the fusion parent participate?
Internally in the blended family, the fusion parent should of course help planning the party for his/her fusion child together with the parent. But whether the fusion parent can participate externally along with the biological parents depends on the ex’s reaction and also by how many years the fusion parent has been a part of the child’s life. What will seem most natural?

– “Basically I think the parent should suggest to the ex that all both set of parents should participate. If carried out, it may be a contributing factor to achieve a good relationship. It can break down some frightening images, you may have of each other. Furthermore the fusion parent’s role in the planning of the event may end up ensuring that the parents will succeed, “says Charlotte Egemar Kaaber and adds:

– “If it causes great trouble that the fusion parent participates in the planning, I do not think it is a struggle that is worth having. But the fusion parent should of course be at the party together with the biological parents. ”

The rules for the party
If you decide that you will cooperate in order to have a great party for your child, you should establish some ground rules. Do not expect that you can handle things as they come, but be aware that you are entering dangerous ground and therefore should take your precautions:

– Talk about what you will do to make the time before the party go smoothly so that the party will be a success
– Define parameters for problematic situations you will respond to
– Stay focused if the good mood changes
– Plan what you are doing, if the cooperation stops (eg. time out for a week)
– Clarify the details of the party, number of guests, budget, wine, dessert, cake table, etc.)
– Clarify who does what and when
– Be ready to compromise
– Accept that the festivities will not be exactly as you plan
– Remember that it is the child’s guests – all of them, so be financially generous regarding who should pay for the guests.

During the party
On the very day it is also good to be mentally prepared, so that you have a few tools ready in case the situation with the ex suddenly becomes difficult.

You must be prepared that both you and your ex will risk regressing back to your old roles forwards each other pushing  the same old buttons. It is just as important to remember that your reactions to your ex often are an accumulation of previous and similar situations and feelings and not the current situation. So if you detect anger or irritation glooming, you can:

• Keep focused on your breathing for a few minutes, it removes the focus from your thoughts
• Take some time out by going the bathroom for a breather
• Ask yourself these questions: What is happening in reality? What are the facts here?
• Try to change focus
• Decide to leave your old role towards the ex behind and see things from the outside
• Rejoice in your own mind that you are no longer with your ex
• Immerse yourself in the lovely sight of the wonderful child

If anything – despite good planning – exceeds your control, you must consult your ex. But remember to stay neutral and don’t show anger. Be conscious not to make a big deal out of it and explain to your ex how you feel. If it is outside your influence to change what happened or was said let it go. Just explain how you feel and let it be. Then you have done your part and shown your limits, that’s all there is to it.

It is worth reminding yourself that you are not in any life threatening danger, although it might feel that way, but it is the THOUGHTS that create these violent emotions. Have positive images ready in your mind which makes you happy until the anger dissipates.

The child will no doubt appreciate that parents and fusion parents have made an effort to give him or her a good and joyous celebration.

Additional information:
Charlotte Egemar Kaaber
Author, lecturer and fusion family coach
T: +45 2182 4472

In a depressed and bad mood, everyone keeps to themselves and wishes that this will pass quickly so the mood will change.

We recognize this all too well. Nobody says anything. It feels like a bad dream.

It reeks of negative vibes and bad energy.

Everyone remains passive.
Everyone feels it.
But no one dares say anything.

What if I am wrong?
What if they refuse to acknowledge what I feel?
What if they say it’s just something I’m imagining?
What if they become defensive?

Do you recognize any of the above?
The above described can easily happen in the fusion family and it can be very difficult to manage in a positive way. But it can be done, if you have courage and dare to take a stand and put words on your emotions.

You want to say something to clear the air, so the whole family can breathe again.

I’m a big believer in defining rules and systems which effectively can help the fusion family in any predicament.

Inspired by author Jack Canfield, I suggest you introduce “The Fusion Family heart-to-heart-talk” to your family.

By occasionally choosing a structured form of communication it becomes easier to deal with difficult conversations. Buy a soft red heart pillow that you physically can hold in your hands.

Explain to everyone in your family the value and the rules of this ‘game’ and admit that it could feel a little awkward and weird at first, but you insist on giving it a chance and that this is a good way to be heard by the other family members. You want to make sure they will be heard.

The rules are as follows:
• Sit in a circle or around a table
• The person who has heart is the only one to speak (set a time frame)
• Do not judge or criticize what each person says
• After your turn pass the object or the heart to the left of you
• Talk about how you feel
• Keep the information confidential
• Do not stop talking until you have explained how you feel

Make sure your family understands the rules. Write them down on a piece of paper.

Start by letting the heart go around at least 1 time, so everyone has an opportunity to be heard. If no one says anything in the beginning, start another round. Someone will eventually have the courage to speak.

If a family member breaks the rules and/or talks when it’s not his/her turn, refer him/her to the written rules.

End the game when everyone is done talking.

By using a heart you will be reminded of the goal of this loving form of communication, which is an honestly and loving family life for all of you.



Deep in my soul I believe the phrase “Whatever you focus on, you’ll get more of” to be true.

The sentence gives me a feeling of security. It gives me faith to consciously choose to be in charge of my own life or just a spectator without influence. But I prefer to be in charge!

I have not always had this mindset. When I was a kid, I heard the adults around me saying: “Thoughts are free-of-charge.” I know now, they are not.

Our thoughts create feelings, emotions create vibrations and activate: The Law of Attraction. I have a lot of proof for that to be true. It cannot continue to be a coincidence when it happens again and again. I just thought of something and I will ask you to reflect briefly on the phrase: “Whatever you focus on, you’ll get more of.”

What if this is how the universe is designed?

What do we risk if we ‘dare’ think about this statement?

What have we to lose?

We do not have to say it out loud to someone if we think our closest will stand completely on such an opinion. If we unconsciously focus and use energy on everything that is NOT working in our blended families, think about it again and again, get angry, repeat it, discuss it with others, dwell over it with others having the same problem, it will only get worse.

What would happen if we instead consciously choose to shift our focus to solutions and suggestions for improvement? Decide to stop ourselves whenever we get caught up in thoughts about everything that is not good. How would our world look like if instead we spend our precious energy on finding new angles and ways to approach a situation? Then we become solution-oriented.

I would challenge you to try it out. You have everything to gain. Just in 2 months and see if it creates new and better results for your fusion family. Nourish the things which already function well in your family. Embrace it, talk about it, share your success with others and repeat it. Enjoy these successes and let go of what is not working for you. And there will be more good and loving experiences coming your direction. Please share all of your good experiences with me. Where did you succeed?



The Fusion Family News