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"you knew what you were getting into when you married a man with kids" - Page 3

post #41 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
I appreciate your candor on this. Lurking in this forum is what made me commit, a year or so ago, to NEVER dating a man with any "active ex." (Single dads of grown children YES, widower dads YES, sole-custody dads YES, shared-custody dads of minor children NO FRIGGIN' WAY!) They are nice as friends - but never would I want that/his drama in my home life.
Oh, but that's the irony. My ex signed off his rights, and his previous wife was dead, so we thought, naively, we would have no drama.

:

Emotional damage from living with people who are disturbed doesn't go away just because you tell everyone you're fine. The poor kid had been putting on the happy face since she could smile and she didn't know any other way. Every time there is a new breakthrough with her it becomes more obvious how closed off she was, how programmed she was to keep up appearances no matter what she was feeling inside.

I was very careful after my divorce in 1989 not to marry just anybody. I stayed single until 2006. I just didn't have any clue how much pain dsd was keeping hidden away from everyone, and I didn't know how to get her to open up when I did realize it. I truly believe she would have been a statistic if we had not found our therapist. We spent about a year and a half with therapists who did no good at all, but within the first 2 visits our current therapist learned she was suicidal at 6. (which made me extremely glad I got rid of my gun when ds was a baby)
post #42 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeyes View Post
I was very careful after my divorce in 1989 not to marry just anybody. I stayed single until 2006. I just didn't have any clue how much pain dsd was keeping hidden away from everyone, and I didn't know how to get her to open up when I did realize it.
I sometimes wonder if dh feels that way about me - not about ds1, but about me. He knew I was going through a bad time when we met, but I don't think he fully realized just how messed up I am in general...

Quote:
I truly believe she would have been a statistic if we had not found our therapist. We spent about a year and a half with therapists who did no good at all, but within the first 2 visits our current therapist learned she was suicidal at 6. (which made me extremely glad I got rid of my gun when ds was a baby)
post #43 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
And interestingly, I've found it almost as disruptive to date a man who "gets along super-well!" with his ex-wife, as a man in conflict with his. "Getting along" means jointly-hosted birthday parties for their kids, her calling him when she gets a flat tire or is filing her taxes, even sharing "Christmas as a family" - hey, if it works for them great, but that doesn't leave enough room for a new, full romantic partner, so I now say "nay."
You know...I think that joint birthday parties are a great idea, if both parents can handle it. I think that a guy being the one his ex calls if she has a flat tire still falls under the heading of her not being adequately over him for a new woman to fit in. That just seems...extreme...
post #44 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I sometimes wonder if dh feels that way about me - not about ds1, but about me. He knew I was going through a bad time when we met, but I don't think he fully realized just how messed up I am in general...

I figure we're all messed up in one way or another, yk? You just have to find what kind of messed up you can deal with.

I don't think dh is completely blameless. If he were not so good at hiding his own feelings, she might not have gotten the idea this was the way to handle things, yk? His response to chaos is to remain calm, where mine would be to freak out and leave. Personally, I think my response makes more sense and protects me from long term damage, but I also understand he was committed to his child's mother and was trying to make it work, so what do you do? I've certainly made my share of bad decisions.

My big thing is trying not to pass on any of our baggage to the next generation. It's scary to me how much they can pick up by the time they're 3 or 4. It really makes you think.
post #45 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeyes View Post
I don't think dh is completely blameless. If he were not so good at hiding his own feelings, she might not have gotten the idea this was the way to handle things, yk? His response to chaos is to remain calm, where mine would be to freak out and leave. Personally, I think my response makes more sense and protects me from long term damage, but I also understand he was committed to his child's mother and was trying to make it work, so what do you do? I've certainly made my share of bad decisions.

With my ex, I freaked out and stayed - the worst of both worlds! DS1 seems really emotionally healthy, but I do wonder sometimes what damage I may have done in those years. I thought he'd be better off with his dad, which just proves I can be a real dope.
post #46 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Coming out of lurkdom because I'm wondering how, if you (general you, ladies) DID know... how would you have changed things? Would you have found someone else?
In all honesty, no flames here, please, if I knew then (before me and my son were too involved with my Hubby and his daughter) what I know now, no matter how much I liked my Hubby, I would have run for the hills. Without looking back. That being said, I've been through Hell and back and then back to Hell again with my stepdaughter's Mother, but I would not give up my Hubby, my stepdaughter or my family for the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Would you have just felt better about having had "informed consent" for lack of better term?
Yes. If I'm gonna screw up my life, it better be ME screwing up my life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Would you have chosen not to have kids...?
Not having kids with my Husband was a chose not made by me. It was many factors together, but a very big part because of my stepdaughter's Mother (another post there). That is my one big regret in this marriage- the death of the dream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Whether or not you actually did know, what would you have done to change it had you known? I guess I'm expecting most people wouldn't have done much else different unless there's some issues with his parenting or your relationship or whatever, but considering the thread that I believe this one spun off of, if you knew about all the financial (and emotional) issues marrying a dad would have brought to your life, would you have just gone in anyway or would you have done things differently?
I would have been more involved in the decision making and I would have made sure that me, my Hubby and our two children would have a guaranteed plan for a life together, not something of a "leftover" life from what was taken. I would have talked my Hubby into standing up for himself and his rights as a Father, instead of him being taken for everything he was worth in order not to have his daughter taken from him (as the threat was made) and I would have talked my Hubby into standing up for us as a family as well, instead of having to cut us out of certain areas of his life in order to please the ExWife so that she didn't take his daughter away from him. If I couldn't have talked him out of it, I would have left, but at this point, it would be detrimental to both children if I left. (Plus, with all the Hell we've been through, with the ExWife and other things, my Hubby and I are bonded in a way that can;'t be broken now.) At the very least, I could have emotionally prepared myself for the emotional turmoil that is now my life, and the emotional turmoil that is part of my children's lives as well now.
post #47 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

With my ex, I freaked out and stayed - the worst of both worlds! DS1 seems really emotionally healthy, but I do wonder sometimes what damage I may have done in those years. I thought he'd be better off with his dad, which just proves I can be a real dope.


DH is the first man who hasn't been afraid of me freaking out. I guess when you've dealt with things whizzing past your head and suicide threats over any disagreement, a little bit of a temper isn't that much of a threat, yk?

DS's bio-dad literally jumped out of a moving vehicle once when I was angry. Granted, I told him to get the he!! out of the car, but I was in the middle of pulling over when he jumped out and ran.

I think a lot of people do the thing where they think the same sex parent may have something to offer the child, but it doesn't always turn out that way in the end. I mean, really, what was he gonna teach ds? How to run the 2 minute mile in a suit? DH and my brother have taught him all the 'guy' stuff just fine.
post #48 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
And interestingly, I've found it almost as disruptive to date a man who "gets along super-well!" with his ex-wife, as a man in conflict with his. "Getting along" means jointly-hosted birthday parties for their kids, her calling him when she gets a flat tire or is filing her taxes, even sharing "Christmas as a family" - hey, if it works for them great, but that doesn't leave enough room for a new, full romantic partner, so I now say "nay."
Yes! This is exactly what I mean. DH gets along pretty well with DSD's mom, but sometimes it seems like a little too well. We actually wound up in counseling over this at one point.
post #49 of 64
If I knew ahead of time what would I have done? Well I don't know. I waffled over it for years because on top of the other issues, there's more than one ex. It's really hard. But it's not like we got involved right out of high school with a relative clean slate in life. We were 26 and 29 when we first met. You know, we've lived lives and had a certain amount of baggage that we both brought to the table. I've got a husband with kids and exes, he's got a wife with mental issues from rape and dv and a HUGE rage problem. Sometimes I wonder if he knew what he was getting himself into.

It is not a fair statement to say "you knew what you were getting in to" as a dismissive statement.

FWIW, I really like my second DSD's mom and her family. If we lived nearby, I think we'd do all sorts of thigns together, holidays, bdays, heck probably even go out for coffee. IN fact we did make holiday trips to be with them in the past. It's not all bad, really.
post #50 of 64
If I knew ahead of time, I would have done it again... the rewards of our family far outweigh the drawbacks.

But if I knew then what I knew now... well, I would have lined up a good therapist and done it a lot better from the start... I think we could have had a lot less emotional trauma if we'd known then what we know now. On the other hand, who knows if we would be where we are if we hadn't gone through what we've been through. It's been a long and hard journey, but it has made our relationship and our family what it is today, and we have found some amazing friends and a strong support system along the way, and THOSE things I wouldn't trade for the world.

(Clearly, today is a good day... )
post #51 of 64
I would be in the adoring my DSD but having issues with her mother category. I have never had serious issues with my DSD. I have been her biggest advocate for help with her in so many ways. I love her dearly. I would not trade her for anything. I knew what I was getting into and that it would not always be roses. I accepted that fully.

What I was not prepared for was how the relationship with her mother would deteriorate over the years. We started off on decent terms. We had joint birthdays and Christmas. When DH and I got pregnant and married, things took a drastic turn. I could not have predicted that in any way from how things started out. We are still dealing with her BS, especially since she remarried and is in a blended situation (still no insight or compassion for me even though she is living it, too). She basically tried to cut us out of DSD's life. We have had to fight for everything. I would never wish this situation on anyone.
post #52 of 64
I GET TOLD THIS ALL THE TIME. No, I didn't know what it would be like. I was 18 years old, never held a baby. I had no freaking idea what it meant to be a parent.
post #53 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkNFluffy View Post
I GET TOLD THIS ALL THE TIME. No, I didn't know what it would be like. I was 18 years old, never held a baby. I had no freaking idea what it meant to be a parent.
I think the thread was talking about "you should have expected your partner would be visiting his kids, paying child support and having contact with his ex," since most single dads do those things before they remarry, yet some 2d wives seem surprised when those exact things continue and impact the 2d wife's life.
post #54 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
I think the thread was talking about "you should have expected your partner would be visiting his kids, paying child support and having contact with his ex," since most single dads do those things before they remarry, yet some 2d wives seem surprised when those exact things continue and impact the 2d wife's life.
Not exactly. I'm the OP. I'm was talking about using that as a flippant response to complex and difficult situations. No one comes on here and says "I just HATE it that my DH continues to visit his kids as he did before we married!" It's more about people describing things like the relationship with DH's ex deteriorating over the years, or step-mom/step-kid relationships changing with the addition of new babies, or the unexpected feelings of loss that your DH isn't becoming a parent with you, or the control that DH's ex seems to have over so many aspects of your life, or many other predicaments. NONE of those could have been predicted before step-moms were married or fully connected to their DH's.

You say that step moms are surprised when "those exact things continue."
In fact, just the opposite- most of us expected that the visitation, support, and contact would more or less stay the same once we married DH and had kids with him-- our struggles come from ways that the situations have changed and developed unexpectedly. That's what this thread is about. I hope that clarifies things, Seasons.
post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeloMama08 View Post
Not exactly. I'm the OP. I'm was talking about using that as a flippant response to complex and difficult situations. No one comes on here and says "I just HATE it that my DH continues to visit his kids as he did before we married!" It's more about people describing things like the relationship with DH's ex deteriorating over the years, or step-mom/step-kid relationships changing with the addition of new babies, or the unexpected feelings of loss that your DH isn't becoming a parent with you, or the control that DH's ex seems to have over so many aspects of your life, or many other predicaments. NONE of those could have been predicted before step-moms were married or fully connected to their DH's.

You say that step moms are surprised when "those exact things continue."
In fact, just the opposite- most of us expected that the visitation, support, and contact would more or less stay the same once we married DH and had kids with him-- our struggles come from ways that the situations have changed and developed unexpectedly. That's what this thread is about. I hope that clarifies things, Seasons.

Glad you clarified because that was not at all what I thought you were asking about, it was more what Seasons was saying, or so I thought.
post #56 of 64
When DF and I first started dating I got asked by ALL of my family and friends if I was sure I knew what I was getting into. DF has 3 kids, his 10 year old son lives with us and his 3 and 4 year old daughter visit occaisionally. Of course I didn't "know" what I was getting in to, what I knew was that I loved this man and that the rest we will have to work at.

The other difficult part for me was that my DF has already had a vasectomy. In a few years we are planning to do the reversal and try to have kids together. But still, I find it really difficult that I have had to completely change my view of family to be with him. Some days I wonder if it's worth it or if people were right. And I tend not to vent about my fears or frustrations because my family has/will say things like how I knew it would be hard, or the one that hurts the most is that my mother has basically told me I have no reason to have/want more of my own children because HE already has enough. It's not that it's not worth it, but it's frustrating that the world has this view that you chose this so you can't say it's hard.
post #57 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seasons View Post
I think the thread was talking about "you should have expected your partner would be visiting his kids, paying child support and having contact with his ex," since most single dads do those things before they remarry, yet some 2d wives seem surprised when those exact things continue and impact the 2d wife's life.
Ouch. That wasn't cool. It really makes second wives (or in my case, first wives) seem a little selfish and naive. No one with an ounce of common sense marries a man with kids and the day she gets the ring says "Abandon them and let's have our own family. You don't need them. You have MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"

Much like having a baby, you know the basics. You know that there'll be diapers and milk and crying. You know that there'll be child support and visitation and an ex. You don't know that there might be inconsolible crying, night after night after night of little sleep or sex or bathing, and taking weird things to bed. Not to mention not knowing what you'll get if you have a baby.
post #58 of 64
Not to mention not having a clue just how psychologically effed up a person can be or how much damage her kids and her ex (or widower in my case) can be hiding during the honeymoon phase of your relationship.

Once you're a permanent part of their lives and they show you how they really feel, and you are let in on all the craziness they've tried to keep hidden...yikes. :

After 5 years I'm still learning things that blow my mind.



Dysfunctional families...the gift that keeps on giving.
post #59 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantaja View Post
Ouch. That wasn't cool. It really makes second wives (or in my case, first wives) seem a little selfish and naive. No one with an ounce of common sense marries a man with kids and the day she gets the ring says "Abandon them and let's have our own family. You don't need them. You have MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"

Much like having a baby, you know the basics. You know that there'll be diapers and milk and crying. You know that there'll be child support and visitation and an ex. You don't know that there might be inconsolible crying, night after night after night of little sleep or sex or bathing, and taking weird things to bed. Not to mention not knowing what you'll get if you have a baby.
I thought she was responding to a specific post that a specific person said, not a generalization.
post #60 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by phrogger View Post
I thought she was responding to a specific post that a specific person said, not a generalization.
I think it might be against the UA for me to confirm that I was responding to a post. So let's just say that I was referring specific instances somewhere, not specificying whether it was a real-life parenting group or messageboard, just somewhere, in fact one of the instances was said in that group yesterday (AFTER my post even)...
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