"you knew what you were getting into when you married a man with kids" - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I find the argument of "you knew what you were getting into when you married a man with kids" to be SO BOGUS.

First of all we never really know how something is going to be until we experience it for ourselves.

Secondly, things change in unforeseen ways when new baby to wife #2 is born. In our case, DP started spending a lot more time with DSD after DD was born bc he didn't want her to feel marginalized. When I got pregnant we had her 2-3 days out of the month. Over time it increased to every weekend. Now, he wants her to live with us. Does she deserve the best possible childhood and parenting from both her parents? Of course! Did I see this coming? Never. Nor did I imagine a whole range of other feelings I'd have- like sadness that DP and I arent "becoming parents" together or frustration that he considers himself an expert on all things baby-related because he did it before (in a totally non-AP way.) It also has forced me to examine my control issues as I notice how uncomfortable I am with ways DSD is that I would never let my own child be. (like watching lots of grown up tv shows or eating candy all the time.)
Sometimes I feel like I don't count and like I'm the one being marginalized, not DSD. And when I see how DSD's mom spends lavishly while we struggle to pay bills, yes, I feel resentful that DP pays child support.

Even if we do know what to expect, that doesn't make it less hard! The "you know what you were getting into" argument is totally uncompassionate and unreasonable. My situation is great in many ways (DSD loves me, her mom is really cooperative and non-competitive, she and my DP get along, etc) and it's still the biggest and least-expected challenge of my life. Should my feelings and struggles be dismissed because I "knew what I was getting into?"
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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Should my feelings and struggles be dismissed because I "knew what I was getting into?"
No, of course not.
I hope that you find some peace with your situation.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, of course not.
I hope that you find some peace with your situation.
Thanks! I meant that more as a rhetorical question but I really appreciate your support. I talk to my mom a lot about it and she is reallllyy helpful at helping me to see how my issues with DSD are really my issues with myself. (and sometimes with DP.)
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:26 PM
 
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I absolutely agree... I made a very, very thoughtful decision about becoming a permanent part of my step-daughter's life, and I did have some idea what her mother's co-parenting was like and took that into serious consideration in making that decision. But there are so many things I would have had NO way of knowing without having already been throguh it myself, and so many things that have changed that I would have no way of predicting.

One reason that I come to this forum so much is that I hope I can help other step-mothers by giving them the benefit of my experience. There is still no way I could prepare anyone for what they are going through, or make the journey smooth and easy... but it was so amazing to me to find this community where there were other step-moms who really GET IT, who HAVE been there... if I can give back a fraction of the support and wisdom that I have gotten from others here, I will feel I have done something worthwhile.

And my hope is always that those who are NOT step-moms or whose situation are otherwise different from mine can share with me their perspective in a way that is respectful and that can give me insight into other points of view that might help me on my journey.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And my hope is always that those who are NOT step-moms or whose situation are otherwise different from mine can share with me their perspective in a way that is respectful and that can give me insight into other points of view that might help me on my journey.
YES YES YES! The antagonism on this board is very upsetting to me. I want compassionate perspectives, not harsh criticisms.

I just want to add that daddy having a new baby with new woman is also hard in unforseen ways on the dad and the "first child(ren.)" It's not predictable. It's hard on everyone. Hard on mommy #1 too.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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I just wanted to send hugs. I just had a new baby as wife #2 and have some similiar feelings as you sometimes. It certainly is not easy... and no, even though we had an "idea" of what it may be like of what we were getting into, when hooking up with a man with children... there definitely is nothing that can prepare you than actually living it. And no matter how much you read/research/prepare, life will always still throw you a curve ball.

Just know you are not alone, and everyone's feelings are valid. We are all human, just because we are adults does not mean we should be sub-human and stuff all our feelings or not have any. We need to deal with the situation in a healthy manner as well.

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Old 02-10-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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I think wording it should be more "when you have a child with a man who has kids already, you have to accept that things WILL change and wont be exactly as you thought or had hoped". Now that can be said for all parentingn situations, be having a willingness to take on what ever extra comes with a man with kids is something that many people really need to take into consideration and many don't.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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It's funny, isn't it?

An overwhelmed stepmom gets "well, you knew what you were getting into when you partnered with a dad..."

A stepmom without kids of "her own" expresses an opinion on anything and gets, "you really can't know/understand until you have children of your own."

An overwhelmed stepmom who has a baby gets, "well, you knew you were having a baby with someone who already had a kid, you should have known..." (Never mind the previous comment. I know one person IRL who has told me the former and will surely tell me the latter should I reproduce.)

And an overwhelmed mom (without disclosed stepkids) who expresses, well, anything about anything, short of "I beat my kids" gets "oh, mama, hang in there, this stage is so hard."

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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Wow I know how you feel. I suppose I should introduce myself around here. I've been a lurker for a very long time and have learned so much from you wise people. Im C and I have been with my dp for 2 years, he has 3 kids under the age of six.

First of all, I am so sorry op. I totally know how you feel and trust me you have every right to feel neglected at times (at least I think thats how you feel). When a new baby or some other circumstance changing event happens it can be so frustrating on everyone. When my dp and I were dating for the first year, he had his children a few nights per week for a few hours. Then, we moved in together and all that changed. He decided (along with me at the time, not knowing what I was getting myself into) that it would be a great idea to have them 50% of the time. He suceeded and I went from a full time student who got to play with them a for a few hours a week to a half time bonus mom. Needless to say, my feelings were thrown all out of whack, some for better and some for the worse. I don't have kids of my own yet, so I'm sure your situtation is different tho.

Just hang in there. For me at least, it did get easier. Feelings still come up and not all of them pleasant, but dp listens to me and we work them out together. Remember that both babes are a blessing and just take a few breaths whenever you get frustrated!!!

Hugs mama!!!
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:27 PM
 
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Amen!!

No where else would that argument be acceptable. Can you imagine it being ok to say
- You knew what you were getting into when you decided to have children with a man who had a drinking problem (to a mom who is suffering through a separation and custody battle)

- You knew what you were getting into when you decided to have 3 embryos emplanted (to a mom whose babies are in the nicu)

- you knew what you were getting into when you decided to continue a pregnancy after finding out the baby had XYZ disorder (to a mom who is having a terrible time with her child's needs)

- you knew what you were getting into when you decided to get pregnant (to any mom posting here about crying, sleeping, breastfeeding, parenting issues, etc. etc. etc.)

Hopefully any comments to step-moms about "what did you expect?" or like that are being reported to Mods as violating this section of the UA:
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Through your direct or indirect participation here you agree to make a personal effort to maintain a comfortable and respectful atmosphere for our guests and members.
and possibly this section:
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Do not post in a disrespectful, defamatory, adversarial, baiting, harassing, offensive, insultingly sarcastic or otherwise improper manner, toward a member or other individual, including casting of suspicion upon a person, invasion of privacy, humiliation, demeaning criticism, name-calling, personal attack, or in any way which violates the law.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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I did know what I was getting into...I was getting a husband I loved and a stepdaughter I ADORED. The rest of it has been a learning process. It has been more work and heartache at times than I can describe. But Mona also taught me love beyond all measure. I love that child. I have since she was a year old. Has it been work? Absolutely. We went from using a safe exchange and visitation center because my DH and DSD's mother could not be in the same room, to where we are now, going to parent-teacher conferences together, communicating and understanding. I am honored to be a stepmother. It is a badge I wear with honor. I got what was coming to me, and so much more...and I mean that in every positive way possible. Thank you to the OP, this is a great thread.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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Actually NO one knows what they are getting into, regardless of the situation, step or non-step. I can get pregnant today and assume I know what I'm "in for" since I've gone down this pregnancy road twice before but as we all know, nothing is a given. There are way too many factors and possibilities. Nothing is within our total control. Knowing that my dh has children and even having a relationship with those children prior to marriage is totally different than trying to blend a family, become an active, committed step-parent, incorporate all of the changes that go on with the other parents in their lives...there is just too much we can't anticipate. So no, we don't know what we are getting into.

All we can know...all we *must* know is that we love our dp's unconditionally and they us, that we are committed to them fiercely, and that we know that life will throw us all sorts of curve balls we can't possibly see coming. And when that happens we'll do the best we can.

And anyone who wants to criticize me can bite it! ;-)
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:05 AM
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I am not a step-parent, but my DH is.

When we began getting serious, I flat out told him that my boys were my first priority. He said that he wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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Actually NO one knows what they are getting into, regardless of the situation, step or non-step. I can get pregnant today and assume I know what I'm "in for" since I've gone down this pregnancy road twice before but as we all know, nothing is a given. There are way too many factors and possibilities. Nothing is within our total control. Knowing that my dh has children and even having a relationship with those children prior to marriage is totally different than trying to blend a family, become an active, committed step-parent, incorporate all of the changes that go on with the other parents in their lives...there is just too much we can't anticipate. So no, we don't know what we are getting into.

All we can know...all we *must* know is that we love our dp's unconditionally and they us, that we are committed to them fiercely, and that we know that life will throw us all sorts of curve balls we can't possibly see coming. And when that happens we'll do the best we can.

And anyone who wants to criticize me can bite it! ;-)
That's kind of what I meant...that the one thing I DID know I was getting into was my love for my stepdaughter. I had to learn the rest of it.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think wording it should be more "when you have a child with a man who has kids already, you have to accept that things WILL change and wont be exactly as you thought or had hoped". Now that can be said for all parentingn situations, be having a willingness to take on what ever extra comes with a man with kids is something that many people really need to take into consideration and many don't.

I don't think that changing the wording changes the meaning. Either way it means "if step-parenting is challenging, you should have already accepted that it was going to be hard when you married him." You say that many don't take into consideration the "extra" stuff that comes with it. What I'm saying is that the "extra" stuff can't be predicted- it comes up along the journey. Being flexible is a great thing to be in life. Going with the flow, rolling with the punches, however you want to put it- it's a useful skill in all of life. I just don't think that the challenges of step-moming should be any different than any other challenges in life--- we face them head on, we try to be compassionate and fair, and we don't look back and say "I'm such an idiot, I should've seen this coming." That's all.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I find the argument of "you knew what you were getting into when you married a man with kids" to be SO BOGUS.

First of all we never really know how something is going to be until we experience it for ourselves.

Secondly, things change in unforeseen ways when new baby to wife #2 is born. In our case, DP started spending a lot more time with DSD after DD was born bc he didn't want her to feel marginalized. When I got pregnant we had her 2-3 days out of the month. Over time it increased to every weekend. Now, he wants her to live with us. Does she deserve the best possible childhood and parenting from both her parents? Of course! Did I see this coming? Never. Nor did I imagine a whole range of other feelings I'd have- like sadness that DP and I arent "becoming parents" together or frustration that he considers himself an expert on all things baby-related because he did it before (in a totally non-AP way.) It also has forced me to examine my control issues as I notice how uncomfortable I am with ways DSD is that I would never let my own child be. (like watching lots of grown up tv shows or eating candy all the time.)
Sometimes I feel like I don't count and like I'm the one being marginalized, not DSD. And when I see how DSD's mom spends lavishly while we struggle to pay bills, yes, I feel resentful that DP pays child support.

Even if we do know what to expect, that doesn't make it less hard! The "you know what you were getting into" argument is totally uncompassionate and unreasonable. My situation is great in many ways (DSD loves me, her mom is really cooperative and non-competitive, she and my DP get along, etc) and it's still the biggest and least-expected challenge of my life. Should my feelings and struggles be dismissed because I "knew what I was getting into?"
My Husband used that line on me once, a long time ago. He said, "You knew what you were getting into when you decided to marry me." My response? I, as calmly as I could manage, asked him, "Really? How many men with children and an exWife have I ever been involved with?" I think it drove my point across- he never said it again.

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It's funny, isn't it?

An overwhelmed stepmom gets "well, you knew what you were getting into when you partnered with a dad..."

A stepmom without kids of "her own" expresses an opinion on anything and gets, "you really can't know/understand until you have children of your own."

An overwhelmed stepmom who has a baby gets, "well, you knew you were having a baby with someone who already had a kid, you should have known..." (Never mind the previous comment. I know one person IRL who has told me the former and will surely tell me the latter should I reproduce.)

And an overwhelmed mom (without disclosed stepkids) who expresses, well, anything about anything, short of "I beat my kids" gets "oh, mama, hang in there, this stage is so hard."


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Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
Amen!!

No where else would that argument be acceptable. Can you imagine it being ok to say
- You knew what you were getting into when you decided to have children with a man who had a drinking problem (to a mom who is suffering through a separation and custody battle)

- You knew what you were getting into when you decided to have 3 embryos emplanted (to a mom whose babies are in the nicu)

- you knew what you were getting into when you decided to continue a pregnancy after finding out the baby had XYZ disorder (to a mom who is having a terrible time with her child's needs)

- you knew what you were getting into when you decided to get pregnant (to any mom posting here about crying, sleeping, breastfeeding, parenting issues, etc. etc. etc.)


Sometimes, it doesn't feel like I'm a "real" person, because I'm a StepMom. I have no rights and I'm expected to put up with things that would make most people cringe, and without complaint or I'm the one at fault.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:06 PM
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So here's a question for you guys:

How would you give someone just getting into a serious relationship with a single dad a real heads-up?

I have a wonderful friend who fell in love with a single dad a few years ago; they're now parents together and bought a house recently. His kids from the first marriage both still little; the 3-year-old's got medical issues. The dad's got standard visitation and the kids live in a different town, in their old house.

My friend has completely knocked herself out for the two little boys and her guy, and I hear her struggling more all the time. Her guy turns out to've been financially irresponsible in many ways; luckily they're not married, but it's still a huge problem for them. She carries the bulk of the home/child work while trying to earn; she's been the one to make their home the boys' home, too. She's sometimes felt she gave them more time and attention than their dad did, but she's afraid to lean on her dh more; he does work a lot, he does get stressed. His job's safe, but they both need to earn quite a bit more to cover his debts and their expenses including mortgage, child support, their own baby.

Well, come to find out that when he left the ex, he really just basically chewed his leg off to get away, just couldn't handle the marriage anymore. Whether or not that weighs on her mind, I don't know, but I do hear her worrying a lot about whether he's too stressed or working too hard.

Back when they were still dating, I really worried about her. The relationship went really fast -- she met the boys quickly, nine months before they moved in and were more or less married, and she was pregnant in under a year. He'd been divorced less than a year and while he seems like a nice enough guy, great with his boys, the situation had all the hallmarks of "divorced guy goes a-hunting, finds nice woman, hands her a lot of his parenting work". She said the usual things about how he was too generous with child support (which also showed what a great guy he was), how the ex was kind of psycho, etc.

I really wanted to warn her, and say, "Look, there'll come a time when you resent the ex for child support that -- well, hon, it's a lot of money, but it doesn't touch these kids' costs, and she's not going to give it up -- and when you'll find you've also married this psycho ex, (is she, really?)...stop and look at the balancing act you're signing up for. He's only just gotten divorced. Does he know how to take care of himself, of children, or are you going to be doing all of it? There may be times when you guys are really struggling, and you're having trouble providing for your own kids, and you'll still be sending her those four digits every month. You'll want your guy to spend more time with your kid, and he'll be off with his other kids. Can you live with that? Can you do it without blaming others? What you're signing up for is hard, and it's not like other relationships where you can walk away, no harm, no foul -- you'll hurt those little boys in a serious way if they come to love you and you leave. Is this really what you want?"

But of course she was head over heels, and thinking about babies, and really didn't want to hear anything like that.

So what would you say?
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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So here's a question for you guys:

So what would you say?
Nothing, unless she asked my advice.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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Nothing, unless she asked my advice. I know it's tempting, though.
ITA.

Nobody can tell you what to expect. Every situation is different.

Besides, who listens when they're in love?

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Old 02-11-2009, 02:11 PM
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Daphne, then how would you expect anyone to avoid the OP's problem? Of course if you go in without any knowledge of common realities involved with marrying a man with children, you're going to get blindsided. I can understand saying "I didn't know", but not if the MO is for others to stand back and let them stay ignorant.

When women take up with alcoholics or drug addicts, if the women have friends, they get a chorus of "girl don't date him". Friends will even yell at their friends to get them away from a man who can mean real trouble. Same if the guy is involved in some very dangerous form of work -- you can count on a girlfriend to say, "Would you make him stop when you have kids?" and "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night," and that sort of thing. But with divorced parents, I don't hear anything like that, even though it's a whole different show than getting involved with someone who's childless.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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Step parent here with a baby with mom and a SS that lives with me.


And as for 'knowing what you were getting into' is a bunch of tripe.


PARENTS IN GENERAL DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GETTING INTO. And just because you have a child does not make you an expert at anything short of insemination, and even then it could have been luck


Anyways, I hope you find a balance and I don't want to stroke any fires, but you are right. No one knows what they are getting into when they become responsible for a little person in their lives. But how we handle the situations makes all the difference.



I didn't get to experience my DSS until the age of 3, I love him to death, don't get me wrong, but after having my DD and experiencing all of the firsts in her life that I missed in his there is definately a different connection. I don't want DSS to feel like he is any less and I do my best to make sure he knows he is always on my mind, but you can't imagine the change that will happen until you experience it.


Anyways, remember your DH is experiencing these changes too and they are new to him too. His life changes in ways he didnt expect and as a partnership you get the chance to work together to fit the pieces together.


He DOES need to do what is best for all of his kids, that definately includes yoru DSD, but that includes your dear child too.


Good Luck.

Partner to :Jessica(??) papa to Jake(7) and : Kaiya (2)
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Daphne, then how would you expect anyone to avoid the OP's problem? Of course if you go in without any knowledge of common realities involved with marrying a man with children, you're going to get blindsided. I can understand saying "I didn't know", but not if the MO is for others to stand back and let them stay ignorant.

When women take up with alcoholics or drug addicts, if the women have friends, they get a chorus of "girl don't date him". Friends will even yell at their friends to get them away from a man who can mean real trouble. Same if the guy is involved in some very dangerous form of work -- you can count on a girlfriend to say, "Would you make him stop when you have kids?" and "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night," and that sort of thing. But with divorced parents, I don't hear anything like that, even though it's a whole different show than getting involved with someone who's childless.

That's a great point, thanks. I'm not sure what I would say other than "it can be really hard." I'm not sure how many universal obstacles there are to step-momming. I remember when i met him and told friends that he had a child, they asked what kind of a dad he was, and I said "great!" In fact, seeing his exemplary fathering was what, in part, inspired me to have a baby with him. I got along great with his daughter, so I had no reason to think that there would be major challenges.

Anyway I guess I would tell someone what I have experienced and let them deduce that maybe their experience would be the same and maybe not. Just like anything related to having a baby.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:25 PM
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ITA.

Nobody can tell you what to expect. Every situation is different.

Besides, who listens when they're in love?
Someone who's old enough to know she makes mistakes, and who understands that love, while important, is not enough on its own.

I really wish my friends had spoken up as I was getting involved with my ex. I didn't see his problems, but others did. Very clearly. They also understood better than I did the seriousness of the clues he dropped; I just had no experience with those things and was naive. My dd is amazing and a fantastic person, and without my ex there'd have been no dd, but it's very likely that had I not married xh, I'd have married someone else, and there'd have been other wonderful children.

I've done much to rebuild my life and my work over the past few years. But my marriage did serious damage to my life and career, and will continue to do damage for years to come. That's easier to brush off if you're 20; at 40, I see it as very expensive. (My friend is also in her 40s.)

So in answer to your question: I'd have listened.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyways, remember your DH is experiencing these changes too and they are new to him too. His life changes in ways he didnt expect and as a partnership you get the chance to work together to fit the pieces together.
So very true. I just wish that there was a general consensus that blending families is really hard for everyone, not just the kids, not just the bio mom, but everyone. I know one big struggle for my DP is comparing my parenting to DSD's moms and saying "I just feel so bad for her (DSD) because she doesn't have a mom like you. ( He didn't know that this would be such an issue with him- he feels like now that he has a baby with a great mom (yay!) he needs to to more with his DD to compensate for her crappy mom (in his opinion) so that she doesn't get a raw deal.

I think there is pressure on step-mom's to do everything right- accept the child as if it was their own, be a great parent without interfering too much, etc... When in reality the onus should be on everyone to try to make it work.


Thanks everyone for joining in this discussion, it's great food for thought.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Someone who's old enough to know she makes mistakes, and who understands that love, while important, is not enough on its own.

I really wish my friends had spoken up as I was getting involved with my ex. I didn't see his problems, but others did. Very clearly. They also understood better than I did the seriousness of the clues he dropped; I just had no experience with those things and was naive. My dd is amazing and a fantastic person, and without my ex there'd have been no dd, but it's very likely that had I not married xh, I'd have married someone else, and there'd have been other wonderful children.

I've done much to rebuild my life and my work over the past few years. But my marriage did serious damage to my life and career, and will continue to do damage for years to come. That's easier to brush off if you're 20; at 40, I see it as very expensive. (My friend is also in her 40s.)

So in answer to your question: I'd have listened.
Interesting 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? Would you have just felt better about having had "informed consent" for lack of better term? Would you have chosen not to have kids...?

I mean, I guess my point is, probably for many people "you knew what you were getting into marrying a dad" is probably moot (although, I have to believe that most pps are right that you NEVER can really know unless you're there). 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?

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Old 02-11-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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Daphne, then how would you expect anyone to avoid the OP's problem? Of course if you go in without any knowledge of common realities involved with marrying a man with children, you're going to get blindsided. I can understand saying "I didn't know", but not if the MO is for others to stand back and let them stay ignorant.

When women take up with alcoholics or drug addicts, if the women have friends, they get a chorus of "girl don't date him". Friends will even yell at their friends to get them away from a man who can mean real trouble. Same if the guy is involved in some very dangerous form of work -- you can count on a girlfriend to say, "Would you make him stop when you have kids?" and "I wouldn't be able to sleep at night," and that sort of thing. But with divorced parents, I don't hear anything like that, even though it's a whole different show than getting involved with someone who's childless.
Bold is mine. You do make some valid points, Ginger. That said, I don't know that there is anyway to avoid the feelings that eventually come up when a partner has kids from a previous relationship. And not everyone will have the same issues and feelings. I didn't resent that my dh provided cs to his kids, I can see why someone would, but I didnt. We had other issues of course, but what marriage doesnt have it's own set of unique challanges, step-kids or not?
I couldn't have been warned away from my dh, I would have resented anyone that tried and then later when issues did arise, pride would have prevented me from turning to those people that had originally predicted a bad outcome to the relationship. IMO, a drug addicts or abusive men are just not on the same plane as a divorced father.

I just wanted to add that I'm really sorry that you had such a bad experience. It's obvious that our personal experiences really shape our feelings about divorce, remarriage, first and second families, etc... My experience, as the child from a first family, was pretty bad. It really shaped my opinions and sympathies. Maybe if I had experienced the same difficulties that you have, then I would feel the way that you do, too.
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Can you imagine it being ok to say

<snip>

- You knew what you were getting into when you decided to have children with a man who had a drinking problem (to a mom who is suffering through a separation and custody battle)

<snip>

- you knew what you were getting into when you decided to get pregnant (to any mom posting here about crying, sleeping, breastfeeding, parenting issues, etc. etc. etc.)
I don't belong on this forum (well, sort of - but we're a "step" family, because dh isn't ds1's bio-dad - I'm not the step-parent), but clicked on the thread, without realizing which forum I was in.

While the above comments wouldn't be accepted here, the OP didn't actually specify that she was talking about comments made here. I've had both of the above comments directed at me (although the first was about my ex's pot smoking, not about alcohol) on multiple occasions. They're considered perfectly acceptable things to say.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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Someone who's old enough to know she makes mistakes, and who understands that love, while important, is not enough on its own.

I really wish my friends had spoken up as I was getting involved with my ex. I didn't see his problems, but others did. Very clearly. They also understood better than I did the seriousness of the clues he dropped; I just had no experience with those things and was naive. My dd is amazing and a fantastic person, and without my ex there'd have been no dd, but it's very likely that had I not married xh, I'd have married someone else, and there'd have been other wonderful children.

I've done much to rebuild my life and my work over the past few years. But my marriage did serious damage to my life and career, and will continue to do damage for years to come. That's easier to brush off if you're 20; at 40, I see it as very expensive. (My friend is also in her 40s.)

So in answer to your question: I'd have listened.
You're a rarity. I talk to women every day who say they want to make changes in their lives, and they say they want the unvarnished truth.

The reality is, they want a fairy tale and they get pi$$ed if I don't give them one. Experience is free, but wisdom is something not everyone gains from their experience.

You also have to know the whole story. Nobody even told me what I would be dealing with.

I didn't know how sick my dsd's background was until I'd been with my dh for a couple of years. DSD and DH are good at pretending things are fine when they aren't.....they did that for years. I was very cautious about dating and I knew he was a good man, but I didn't know how wounded they were, or how awful things had been until dh told me all of it. Dsd still has false memories she's invented to cover up the reality of her early years. Can you even begin to imagine how awful your early childhood had to be for you to make up memories?

I came into a situation that wasn't quite what it seemed, and my dsd was playing a role she thought she had to play. She would switch back and forth between her public persona and her private persona once I was a permanent part of her life. At one point I was afraid she was a sociopath and there was nothing that could be done. I even had an expert tell me that was a possibility. Exactly how do you prepare yourself for that? I'd really like to know.

I had never even heard of attachment disorders until someone online pointed me in the right direction. If we had not found the right therapist, I'm certain we would be divorced now. But we did, and in the space of 1 school year we've seen major changes.I don't think anyone can be 100% prepared for life with another person. Everyone has things they hold back that can come out and blindside you. Some are just more difficult to deal with than others.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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I didn't get to experience my DSS until the age of 3, I love him to death, don't get me wrong, but after having my DD and experiencing all of the firsts in her life that I missed in his there is definately a different connection. I don't want DSS to feel like he is any less and I do my best to make sure he knows he is always on my mind, but you can't imagine the change that will happen until you experience it.
I remember dh being really upset after we had dd. He's been in ds1's life for 3 years at that time (met him at age 7), and loved him a lot, and always treated him as his own son (as do my in-laws). The reason he was so upset is that my ex is an almost completely absentee parent, and dh realized that he was just not ever going to have the same bond with ds1 that he had with dd, because he wasn't part of ds1's life from infancy. He said he felt so awful for ds1 that he felt as though he was stealing something from him.

I'd never really thought about it from that side before, but I felt bad for both ds1 and dh. What a horrible place to be in.

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Old 02-11-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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WOW!!! It is SO refreshing to see points of view that are so eloquently conveyed.

THIS is why I have come to this forum in the past!

THESE types of thought-provoking, useful ideas and coping mechanisms as well as just plain support.

Really, honestly--you guys are great. :

I certainly did know what I was getting into: a wonderful relationship with a man who is my absolute best friend and supporter in the whole world; he gets on with my son (and my ex) splendidly; I'm a very supportive and loving step-mom to his 3 and I try my best (truly) with his ex. DH makes an incredible salary, and a portion of it does indeed go to support his kids when they are with their mom--I certainly knew about that when I got involved with him, that much I can say I knew with concrete surety.

What I didn't count on (and am forever grateful to be given this opportunity)was how much I would truly care about our expanded family and all that that entails (warts and all)! Sure, I have had some trying times with his ex and even his kids...but, in the end, all that he and I really care about is how deep we love each other and we show the kids that this is how a couple are supposed to behave with one another and that all our kids are happy and healthy and grow up to be fine, outstanding individuals.

Hugs to ALL the step-moms out here!
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