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The Woes of a "Blended Family"

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

q


Edited by tennisstar - 12/4/11 at 1:27am
post #2 of 31

Kind of speechless.  I'd like to offer you advice but... I'm pretty sure your mind is set... so good luck


Edited by Imakcerka - 12/3/11 at 5:15am
post #3 of 31

You're right, it does sound terrible. If you are having trouble changing your attitude on your own, I'd suggest finding a good therapist to talk to about this. Or a divorce lawyer.

post #4 of 31

Honestly, you sound too immature to be married, let alone someone's step parent.   

In those 'old fashioned Conservative Catholic values" you're so proud of, do you remember anything about loving thy neighbor?  Or judging not lest ye be judged?  How about suffering the little children to come unto Him?  

 

Do the boy a favor.   File for divorce.  No kid deserves this.    And then, before you jump into another fantasy relationship that's all about you, spend some time in therapy.   Figure out why you're so self-absorbed.   Because, I'm not going to cut you any breaks on this one.    You sound just as bad as you were worried it did.  Actually, probably worse.  

post #5 of 31

Yes these area all things you should have thought about and many you will not be able to change.   You can achieve them but it sounds like it will require you to work to afford them.  He's 10 so you have at least 8 more years of child support and probably more if he agreed to help him with college.   I agree with the OP find a good therapist or divorce lawyer.  

post #6 of 31

As a Catholic adult step child I could barely read your post. You *chose* to marry a man with a child but didn't expect him to actually be a parent to that child?!  How could you resent your husband being a father to his son? Wouldn't you want him to treat your children the same way? How is resenting and excluding a child a traditional Catholic value? I think you need to go talk to your priest about this.  I know that he'll remind you that all children are gifts from God and that it's your responsibility to support your husband and his family.  If you can't do that, get an annulment. 

post #7 of 31

I agree with the suggestions to go right now and find a priest/therapist and/or divorce lawyer to talk to.

 

You either need to learn to accept things as they are (that your husband is a loving, committed father and that other families have different life styles that are NONE of your concern) or get a divorce and look for somone who has no children and is willing to follow all your lifestyle requirements.

post #8 of 31

Step 1:  Stop doing anything that could make you pregnant by your husband.   Since you say you're Catholic, I'm not going to say "obtain and use reliable birth control," but that option is on the table.

 

Step 2: Confess these feelings to your husband.  Now.  He needs to know that his wife ;feels this way about his son, so that he can make his own informed decisions, especially about engaging in potentially procreative activities with you.

 

Step 3:  Seek counseling, either as a couple or by yourself or both.

 

Step 4: Do not resume doing anything that could make you pregnant by your husband unless and until you have attained not just grudging acceptance of his existing child, but actual acceptance and the ability to be cordial and welcoming if not warm and loving.   

 

 

Alternative:  Leave now and find someone who meets your spousal criteria.    Please do this before you conceive a child in this situation.   Neither your husband's existing child (who, as s human being who already exists, has a superior claim to your husband's resources and emotions than a theoretical child sho does not yet exist)  nor any future children he may have with you deserve to be put into this situation until you get a serious handle on it.


Edited by savithny - 12/3/11 at 9:53am
post #9 of 31

Wow. Just wow. I'm not completely sure how to respond to this, but I feel like I need to and I feel like I need to reign in what I am really feeling in the hopes that maybe soft-soap will work better than a Brillo pad and you'll hear what I say. 

 

I am the mother of 4. Two of my children are biological, 2 are not. They are all four MY children. My "step" childrens' bio mom took off when they were 6 and not quite 2; I was dating their father at the time, not officially engaged yet, just dating, but I felt almost immediately that it was my job, as a human and as a Christian, to do what I could to help take care of the kids. And that's what I did, for the next 8 years. Their dad and I got married, we became a blended family, I became Mama, for good and all. For various reasons, my marriage didn't last; the older kids went with the ex when we split up, and it is the single most painful thing I have ever been through. I have very little contact with them now, as soon as we split up, the ex and his family immediately set about cutting every tie I had with them and when they were done cutting, the children had decided that they wanted nothing more to do with me. And it was devastating to me, I am still grieving the loss nearly 2 years later. I haven't given up on my children, I pray daily that God will work His miracles and help me figure out a way to mend what was broken, but for right now, we are estranged and it hurts. I would give anything to be in the situation you are in, I would give ANYTHING to have my children in my life for even the small amount of time that you have your stepson in yours.

 

In spite my own loss, I can understand, somewhat, not being wildly in love with a child that you only see once or twice a year; there's not a lot of time there for building a relationship, there's not enough time to build a foundation or find shared interests or even to figure out what there is about your stepson that could, potentially, help you enjoy each other's company. On top of that, he's  a living, breathing reminder that your husband once belonged to someone else, that he has a history and memories and an entire life that you weren't a part of. But what I cannot understand, for the life of me, is how you see all of this as your stepsons' fault. He didn't ask to be born, he didn't ask to have his parent's marriage fail, he didn't choose to grow up, for all intents and purposes, alienated from his father. In an ideal world, YOU would not be a part of his father's life, his father would still be married to his mother and his family would be whole. But this is not an ideal world, and for good or ill, you are now married to his father. You are his stepmother, and it is your job to make sure that he feels welcome in your home. He is a CHILD; maybe he's spoiled, and maybe he's addicted to his tech toys, but that doesn't make it okay for you to make him feel like an intruder in what should be considered his own home. He should be expected to follow the house rules, he should be expected to respect you as his fathers' wife, but he should not, under any circumstances, know that you think of him as anything other than a treasured guest. 

 

What are you going to do when and if you have kids of your own? Do you think that there's a switch you can flip to turn them off when you want time alone with your husband? Do you think that they are going to be content to toddle off to bed as soon as he comes home from work so that you can have him all to yourself? It doesn't work that way, I'm not sorry to tell you. Children, especially very young children, are inherently selfish; it's maddening at times, it can drive even the most dedicated parent straight up the wall, but it's biological, it's a built-in survival mechanism, and your kids will have it just like every other child ever born. They will demand their share of your husband, they will monopolize him, a lot, unlike your stepson, there won't be any sending them home after three weeks. They will be a permanent fixture, and unless things drastically change, methinks that you will end up resenting them the same way you currently resent your stepson. Take it from someone who's been there; it's a heartbreaking situation, and it's one that you don't ever, ever want to be in.

 

You don't HAVE to love this child. You don't even have to like him, though I do sincerely hope that your eyes are somehow opened and you end having a decent relationship with him. You do, however, have to treat him with kindness, no matter how unkind you feel, and you have to respect his place in his father's life, because that's what grown people do. Either put on your big girl panties and suck it up, or find a good divorce lawyer and remove yourself from this situation before you put a black mark on this little boys' innocent soul. 

 


Edited by 4midablemama - 12/3/11 at 10:29am
post #10 of 31

Hmm. I could be wildly off base, but I wasn't as disturbed as some of you.

 

1) Yes, the OP apparently glossed over some issues and didn't put enough thought into them ahead of time. I'm sure we've all partnered with people without going down the full checklist ourselves. Personally, I've realized I just got lucky on some areas with DH - we didn't really discuss finances ahead of time, and we both had some warning signs that we were not necessarily financially responsible, and yet somehow we both ended up being very financially responsible. I won't take the credit for figuring this out ahead of time. I also went into the relationship not taking seriously enough a dysfunction between DH and his mother. And I lucked out on that again, as DH put his foot down and his mother evolved and the dysfunction ended. Anyway, I can see how a young person might not consider the impact a child who is so rarely seen might have on the relationship. It doesn't let her off the hook or anything, but I doubt even most people really come into a relationship fully prepared.

 

2) Yes, the OP has expressed very selfish thoughts. I read them as her deepest darkest venting thoughts (which are probably even worse than what she really feels) rather than her everyday approach. A lot of mamas come on here and vent, and they are received in different ways.

 

3) The OP seems to be afraid of how her stepson (and his gadgets) will affect how she wants to raise her own children. And you know what, she's right. There is an impact. On the other hand, we can remind her that her DH is going to have an impact even if the stepson were not in the picture. I can fully sympathize with not wanting to raise my kids in a world of gadgets. I married my computer nerd husband. Well, that ship has sailed. All we can do is be respectful of each other and compromise as best as we can. If raising my kid in a gadget-free childhood was that important I shouldn't have married him. Fortunately, I'd rather be married to DH and have DD on the computer than the alternative. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't take me some time and perspective to be at peace with it.

 

I do agree strongly with the advice to take serious measures to defer conception until things get worked out one way or another. Catholics can practice natural family planning, and if taken seriously and practiced right, it can be very effective.

post #11 of 31

Wow. Are you serious? Sounds to me like you have a husband who is a great dad.

 

Maybe you should stop making the situation about YOU and try to see it from another point of view, anything is better than your thought process about it now.

 

Also tell your husband how you feel, NOW. This isn't fair to him to stay in a marriage where you despise him having a child and all that it entails.

 

Just so you know, my parents have been married 39 years, I have no half siblings, was raised in church, etc. I dated and married the love of my life who already had a son. I wouldn't trade being DSS's mother for all the money in the world. I'm pregnant with his sister right now. There is no "half" to it in my eyes. He is the child of my heart, end of story.

 

You actually said:

Hey, to you unmarried gals - don't marry a single dad! (And I have it easier then most, I'm sure)

 

You do have it easy! And that last comment is so insulting. I don't think you are in a position to give advice to anyone.

post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 

Wow. I expected negative comments, I honestly did, but like I wrote in my post, it was vent. Thanks Laohaire for taking note of that, because I am never, never mean to his son and he actually really likes me. It's not as though I'm an abusive stephmother who hides when her stepkids over and rules with an iron fist. I just have a lot of sad inner thoughts. I just really wanted somewhere to express all that's been bubbling inside me and I guess I probably shouldn't have picked a blended family forum to do that. I guess I was hoping there would be someone like me who stumbled upon the post, because I thought other people might struggle with it as well. Apparently I was wrong and you are all perfect. 

 

Also, I should add, that I only mentioned being Catholic because being raised in a catholic enviroment, I knew next to no blended families. Most (not all, but most that I know) Catholic families tend to stay together no matter what (at least when the kids are young). I was just making a point that I'm not used to it. I am not a hard core religious and have never claimed to be a saint. I respect religion, but I only attend church on occasion, so please don't crucify me for being hypocritical.

 

Nonetheless, thanks everyone for their input. I know I sound immature and self centered and perhaps my original post was a little too flamboyant (I write newspaper editorials for a living so maybe it was a little too blunt). I'm sure I'll get over it.  

post #13 of 31

tennisstar, I want to respond to two separate issues raised in your post.  One, the debt, and two, the stepson.  My husband brought a child and a lot of debt into our marriage.  Sure, sometimes I'm resentful of the debt.  Who wouldn't be?  But what am I supposed to do, leave a man I love and respect so I can find someone without debt to marry?  No.  We just live within our (reduced) means and keep paying the bills.  That's about all you can do.  His debt is student loans, so we've pursued various cost-saving measures (consolidation, IBR, etc).  Maybe you and your husband can look into some debt counseling.

My stepdaughter was around 8 when I entered their lives.  She's 17 now.  Our daughter is 3.  I think most of your issues with your stepson are the result of not really knowing him.  There have definitely been points when I've felt less comfortable around my stepdaughter, because for whatever reason a lot of time went by without seeing her.  But then we'd get back into our normal visitation cycle and things would be fine.  If you can find a way to develop your relationship with your stepson more fully, I think you'll start feeling better about him.  Maybe skype?  Email?  I know it'll be difficult with him living across the country, but see what you can do.

My stepdaughter is being raised by her mother very differently than we raise our 3 year old.  Honestly, I did have some of the same concerns- that my child would pick up on habits that I didn't want her to.  Guess what?  It's not an issue.  My stepdaughter is very insightful and considerate.  She knows we don't let DD watch tv (only certain videos), so she doesn't turn on the tv when DD is around.  She'll wait until nap or bedtime.  We don't eat meat, stepdaughter does.  She is very careful to keep her food away from DD.  DD knows that she and her sister have different mothers, but the same father.  Obviously she doesn't understand the whole part of sex that's involved in that...but when she does, who cares?  She LOVES LOVES LOVES her sister, and that's really all that matters. 

So...my advice?  Debt counseling, and work on building a relationship with your stepson.  I'm sure he's a great kid, and having a closer relationship with him will alleviate many of your fears/concerns.  And yeah, as other posters have said, talk to your husband about how you're feeling.  About everything.

post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response petey44...that actually really brightened my outlook on things. I think you're right, in that I should find other ways to bond with him, because it's very hard to get to know him with only seeing him a few times a year for such short visits. I don't really think of myself as a stepmom, but perhaps if I think as myself as more of a big sister (seeing as I am only 14 years older then him), then maybe it'll become easier. My husband if a very kind father and I am proud of him for that..I have sort of told him about my feelings (somewhat sugar coated) and it obviously upsets him. I am sorry that I hurt him..when he married me, I wasn't concerned about him having a child, so it isn't his fault. I think I might see a therapist to help me out a bit.  

post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisstar View Post

Wow. I expected negative comments, I honestly did, but like I wrote in my post, it was vent. Thanks Laohaire for taking note of that, because I am never, never mean to his son and he actually really likes me. It's not as though I'm an abusive stephmother who hides when her stepkids over and rules with an iron fist. I just have a lot of sad inner thoughts. I just really wanted somewhere to express all that's been bubbling inside me and I guess I probably shouldn't have picked a blended family forum to do that. I guess I was hoping there would be someone like me who stumbled upon the post, because I thought other people might struggle with it as well. Apparently I was wrong and you are all perfect. 

 

Also, I should add, that I only mentioned being Catholic because being raised in a catholic enviroment, I knew next to no blended families. Most (not all, but most that I know) Catholic families tend to stay together no matter what (at least when the kids are young). I was just making a point that I'm not used to it. I am not a hard core religious and have never claimed to be a saint. I respect religion, but I only attend church on occasion, so please don't crucify me for being hypocritical.

 

Nonetheless, thanks everyone for their input. I know I sound immature and self centered and perhaps my original post was a little too flamboyant (I write newspaper editorials for a living so maybe it was a little too blunt). I'm sure I'll get over it.  


I think that who you probably stumbled across are people who are in your stepson's posiition and  have stepmothers and half/step siblings, or who are in your husband's position rather than in your situation.    Can you see how hearing your explanation could make them think of themselves in yoru stepson's shoes?

 

I think your thought of getting counselling about this is probably a very good one -- and I reiterate my previous comment about trying to conceive.  I feel really strongly that until you are in a better place about this issue, you should NOT be trying to get pregnant.    I've heard from many stepmothers who were *not* resentful of their husband's kids that for them, pregnancy and having a newborn caused feelings like that to surface for the first time.   Most of them said that because they'd previously had a good relationship with their stepkids, they were able to identify their resentment as being part hormonal and part a response to the gigantic life changes going on, and they were able to get past the resentment.  

 

I'm afraid that if you go into a pregnancy already feeling bitter and resentful, those hormones and postpartum changes will just make you feel even more justifed in your resentment.  And that's really not fair to anyone in the situation.

 

post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisstar View Post

Wow. I expected negative comments, I honestly did, but like I wrote in my post, it was vent. Thanks Laohaire for taking note of that, because I am never, never mean to his son and he actually really likes me. It's not as though I'm an abusive stephmother who hides when her stepkids over and rules with an iron fist. I just have a lot of sad inner thoughts. I just really wanted somewhere to express all that's been bubbling inside me and I guess I probably shouldn't have picked a blended family forum to do that. I guess I was hoping there would be someone like me who stumbled upon the post, because I thought other people might struggle with it as well. Apparently I was wrong and you are all perfect. 

 

Also, I should add, that I only mentioned being Catholic because being raised in a catholic enviroment, I knew next to no blended families. Most (not all, but most that I know) Catholic families tend to stay together no matter what (at least when the kids are young). I was just making a point that I'm not used to it. I am not a hard core religious and have never claimed to be a saint. I respect religion, but I only attend church on occasion, so please don't crucify me for being hypocritical.

 

Nonetheless, thanks everyone for their input. I know I sound immature and self centered and perhaps my original post was a little too flamboyant (I write newspaper editorials for a living so maybe it was a little too blunt). I'm sure I'll get over it.  


Maybe you aren't "abusive" but dreading the thought of him living with you is pretty mean and not wanting your children to look like someone who isn't your child is frankly, repulsive.

 

You aren't "used to" blended families. Um...too bad! Life does not consist of what we are used to and what grown ups do is accept that and adapt themselves.

 

You are far too immature to have ever gotten married in the first place. Do your husband and your stepson a favor and leave them so they can find someone who will love and accept them, and be willing to "get used to" them.

 

post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by churndash View Post


Maybe you aren't "abusive" but dreading the thought of him living with you is pretty mean and not wanting your children to look like someone who isn't your child is frankly, repulsive.

 

You aren't "used to" blended families. Um...too bad! Life does not consist of what we are used to and what grown ups do is accept that and adapt themselves.

 

You are far too immature to have ever gotten married in the first place. Do your husband and your stepson a favor and leave them so they can find someone who will love and accept them, and be willing to "get used to" them.

 




This is too harsh. She's processing stuff she hasn't processed yet, getting some deep dark thoughts and feelings off her chest, among people who supposedly won't take them personally because they don't know her! She probably thought that, in a blended family forum, others have had similar "deep dark" thoughts. I know I have, and I grew up in a single parent household! Step parenting is hard all around- let's face it, for many people, the joys of family life are all mixed in with having to accept that your family will never resemble your long-cherished "dream" family, whatever that looks like. It comes with the territory, so lighten up everybody!

post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 

"Maybe you aren't "abusive" but dreading the thought of him living with you is pretty mean and not wanting your children to look like someone who isn't your child is frankly, repulsive.

 

You aren't "used to" blended families. Um...too bad! Life does not consist of what we are used to and what grown ups do is accept that and adapt themselves.

 

You are far too immature to have ever gotten married in the first place. Do your husband and your stepson a favor and leave them so they can find someone who will love and accept them, and be willing to "get used to" them."

 

 

 

 

- I understand that it's easy being an a-hole when you don't have to see the person you're typing to, but really? I'm sure you and your blended family are doing perfectly fine and an ill thought or moment of regret has never crossed your mind. I commend you!!!  joy.gif  

 

post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 

"I think that who you probably stumbled across are people who are in your stepson's posiition and  have stepmothers and half/step siblings, or who are in your husband's position rather than in your situation.    Can you see how hearing your explanation could make them think of themselves in yoru stepson's shoes?

 

I think your thought of getting counselling about this is probably a very good one -- and I reiterate my previous comment about trying to conceive.  I feel really strongly that until you are in a better place about this issue, you should NOT be trying to get pregnant.    I've heard from many stepmothers who were *not* resentful of their husband's kids that for them, pregnancy and having a newborn caused feelings like that to surface for the first time.   Most of them said that because they'd previously had a good relationship with their stepkids, they were able to identify their resentment as being part hormonal and part a response to the gigantic life changes going on, and they were able to get past the resentment.  

 

I'm afraid that if you go into a pregnancy already feeling bitter and resentful, those hormones and postpartum changes will just make you feel even more justifed in your resentment.  And that's really not fair to anyone in the situation."

 

Thanks Savithny. I'm not trying to get pregnant. My husband really want us to have a kid right away because he knows that I am having a hard time with things and he thinks I wouldn't leave if we had a child (I wouldn't). However, I've told him that it wont be happening anytime soon because I know that it would potentially make things a lot worse, and I would not want to bring a child into our marriage right now. What you mentioned about the whole postpartem/hormone thing was a good point as well. I hadn't really thought about that.

post #20 of 31

Yikes-I'm a little afraid to jump into this conversation, but here goes anyway!

 

I think it is normal to feel some of these things-I am actually really surprised by the number of stepmoms that feel, or at least claim to feel, that they feel equally close/bonded/whatever to their stepchildren versus their biochildren. I love my stepdaughter, but it is definitely a different kind of love and I do struggle with similar feels to the OP at times. It is really HARD having another child in your home who was rasied with different value, ideas, and experiences. We are lucky in that, like a PP, mostly dsd adjusts fine to having different rules at our house. She never complains about not watchign TV or not having $100 shoes or other stuff that she gets with her mom. OTOH, my 4-year-old dd is now begging for a cell phone and a game boy thing because she sees that dsd has one :(

 

I can't stand when people say, well, you knew what you were getting into when you got together with a man with a child.  Do we really ever know?!  I was very young when dp and I got together and I honestly had NO CLUE what it would be like. That may be my fault, but some of it is just experience and spending years with a person/people.

 

OP, I think it is probably even harder to get used to having you dss around because you see him so little. These are issues you need to work out if you plan to stay married. If you are completely opposed to having dss spend more time/live with you, that is something that you need to discus with your husband before it actually becomes an issue so you are on the same page. And yes, having my "own" kids definitely caused stress on my relationship with dp regaridng some feelings of resentment toward dsd-it caused a lot of fights, it caused me a lot of guilt and stress for a long time. I think it is partially just hormonal, wanting to "protect" your child from hurts real or imagined, but it would be made worse if those feelings already existed. My youngest is 1.5 now and just finally I feel it easing off, but I do strongly recommend that you work through some of these feeling before having kids with your dh.

 

Good luck-it really is hard and I'm assuming that your OP was mostly just venting and not how you actually act towards your dss! We all need to vent sometimes, but I do feel like it can be taken the wrong way in a public forum so I don't often do it! :)

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