Originally Posted by Swilson_
Okay, so here is the breakdown. I've been dealing with this in my head for a week or so and have no idea where to turn, I don't want biased opinions from friends or to say the wrong thing to my partner before I get my thoughts straight. My partner and I recently got engaged, he has been basically living with us for the last 6 months, but as of last month is when he gave notice for his own place and moved his stuff in. I have a 4, soon to be 5 year old son, and my fiancé has a 3 year old son. We all get along really well, we do family things together and the kids are best friends. I have joint custody of my son, so he is here half of the time, and my fiancé's son is here every second weekend and one night the the opposite week. I'm not sure if its the mother in me, but I put in a huge effort with my soon to be step son .. I love him very much, he loves me and I treat him the same as I would treat my son. I don't intend to take his mothers role, but when he's at my house the kids are treated the same. I play with him, cook for him, kiss his booboo's, I show him affection and treat him as I would any child really.. But I feel as if my partner doesn't put in the effort that he should with my son. My son will ask him to help with a video game, or try and get his attention and I feel more often than not he brushes him off. I know it's not that he dislikes my son, I just don't feel he tries enough. But when it comes to discipline he's quick to step up there, to tell him when he's out of line or to chat with him when he's disrespecting me. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that; my son respects him and loves his company. I'm just not sure If I am expecting more than I should, if I should approach him about it at all, or what I'm supposed to do here.. I don't want to just wait it out and hope it gets better to be disappointed I feel its unfair to my son. He is a really nurturing dad, and loves his son very much, but seems a little off put with my son. We're going to be a family. This is making me a little crazy, my son is my number one priority, I don't want to marry a man that's only in it for me. HELP.
Give it some time. I have two sons and my fiance has two daughters and a son.
We met when my little one was 9 months old, so the "Daddy parenting" pretty much fell right into place for my fiance and my now 3 1/2 year old, (I mean, really, how can you not smile at a baby when a baby smiles at you and holds his arms up to be picked up and snuggled?), but for the older kids, it wasn't such an easy journey. As my son got older (and it became clear he was on the Autistic Spectrum and has ADHD), my fiance pulled back a bit, and for a while, I had to do a little micromanaging of their relationship- "Dear, when J's doing that, the best way to deal with it is to do this." and "Dear, he's quiet and occupied now, but if you go play with the toy cars with him and just make small talk for ten minutes, it'll be a good bonding experience and then later when he's bouncing off the wall, you'll have a connecting point to help bring him down and redirect him.", and just a simple, "James is going to bed now, so go kiss Daddy goodnight and ask him if he wants to read a book to you tonight or Mommy." They're finding their own rhythm now.
My youngest stepdaughter was 4 when I met her. Her Mother died when she was two, so she was desperate for a Mommy, almost two much- it was kinda scary, a bit of a put-off for me, and I had to remind myself that she's the way she is because she's desperate for a Mother-figure.
My stepson and I took FOREVER to connect. I tried to go at his pace, but he has a very reserved personality, very, very similar to my own older son (we now joke that they should have been biological brothers, they're so alike). I've been with my fiance for 3 years now, and he's just started a couple months ago telling me he loves me. He spent the first 2 1/2 years just watching every move I make, observing me. Trying to connect on his level, well, I hate to put it this way, but Minecraft and trains have no interest for me, so I really had to push to make that effort. (Not that I didn't want a close relationship with Jon-Jon, but that it was hard to find a way to connect, plus he was so reserved by nature, and easily gets lost in the shuffle with his sisters and my own little one.)
My older stepdaughter is 14 and I'm still trying to figure out what my place is in her heart. Her Mother died right after she turned ten and her and her Mother did not have a good relationship, then I met her when she was 11 1/2. She... I don't know. At first, she was the one pushing everything, little matchmaker, etc, and then we got really, really close (it helps that we have a lot in common and that we have similar ways of thinking), but I don't know what happened. I don't know if it's regular teenage angst or what, but now she's obsessing over the loss of her Mother and suddenly doesn't want anything to do with me parenting her, so I'm trying to be the "responsible adult friend" for now. It's really hard, though, when I'm asked to read and give opinions on poems she writes about how much she misses her Mother, details of her Mother's and my fiance's romantic life, and how she's on her own and doesn't want or need a Mother figure anymore. (She also suffers from Depression and Anxiety issues, so that likely plays a part in things.) But then other times, she wants to spend time with me and tells me how I mean the world to her, that I'm in her and her Dad and her siblings' lives, etc. I'm lost on this one here- we started out so nicely, but now... I don't know what she wants, what she needs, or even if she likes me sometimes.
My 19 year old had a former stepfather who is no longer in his life, so he's pretty much done with new family members. He's told me that he likes my fiance and his children as friends, but he does not need another Dad to walk out on him (my son's words) and he does not think it's fair that anybody with children should be involved with anybody else because it's not fair to the children, the risk they're forced to take. Oddly enough, my oldest son gets along very well with my fiance and on several occasions has said that he wishes my fiance did not have children (nothing against the ones he has, just any children in general) and that I was not dating my fiance, because the two of them get along so well, if the situation were different, they'd be very good friends. I can see it, too.
Relationships take time, especially between a child and a stepparent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If your partner is consistently treating your child different than his and does not improve and you two can't come to an agreement on how to treat the two sets of children equally, then in the end, it will not work out between the two of you. You and your child will grow resentful of your child always being the scapegoat and and your partner will grow resentful that you are always defending your child, causing conflict between you and him. You do have one thing going for you, though- in my experience, the younger the child is when a stepparent develops a bond with a stepparent, the closer the bond is able to become.