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1029 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  cunninghamt12204
My fiancee and I have been living together comfortably with my daughter for more than a year. He has three very well behaved, kind children from a previous marraige who have been coming every other weekend, until a month ago when their mother never came to pick them up.

The problem is that I make a lot more money than he does, which wasn't a problem until the children came to live with us. Now I feel like this huge financial burden has been placed on my shoulders. Just last weekend we went camping and spent $1000! That is crazy! I spend a lot of money on frivolous things on myself and my daughter - because I like to. I worked hard to get through grad school because I wanted to be able to but things and travel. I can't afford to do that for 6 people, and don't feel that my daughter or I should have to do without the things I work hard for becuase he can't afford the things I can.

I could never ask anyone this question face to face because I feel so selfish, but it's my reality. I don't know what to do. I have actually thought about leaving him.
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That sounds very difficult - not just financially but emotionally too, I'm sure. What a big adjustment for you all.

Their mom just never came back??!! Do you know where she is? Has she been in contact? How awful for the kids [well, although I dream about my stepdaughters' mom doing something like this one day!]. How is your daughter adjusting to having her step-sibs around on a permanent basis?

I understand feeling frustrated with the financial burden. My husband is a stay-at-home dad, and while we both value this immensely, sometimes I get overwhelmed with the responsibility of paying for almost everything (I cover his child support - heck, it's less than daycare would be in this city anyway, and his being at home is invaluable). How does your fiance feel about the $$ situation? A lot of men feel uncomfortably 'dependent' when their female partner earns more than them, especially if she's supporting kids that are not biologically hers. Is it just that his line of work au moment pays less well than yours? I know that if my dh were working full-time outside the home, he still could earn maybe half of what I do - it's just the nature of what kind of paid work I do, and not any inadequacy on his part.

I think what helps in our family is that I have always made a conscious effort to think not of 'my' money and 'my' child/responsibility versus 'his' money and 'his' kids/responsibility - we're a family unit, and our money is earned as a family. I figure that he and I both work hard and society is just organized in a weird way so that I get the paycheque for the both of us. I haven't been able to afford anything frivolous since before I can remember (let me see, maybe when I was about 20??), so I don't know how it feels for your ability to do that for you and your daughter to be compromised, which I can see would be frustrating. Realistically, though, if you're a family of 6 now, you're not going to be able to do all the same things with your money as when you were a family of 2 or 3, right?

Have you guys looked at child support from the mom? Obviously she has a legal and ethical responsibility to contribute to her children's support.

Good luck!
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One other thought - one compromise that you might be able to work out is to do some special one-on-one stuff with your daughter (and he can do stuff with just his kids too - frame each of these as opportunities for special time with their parents). I don't think there's anything wrong with you and her doing the occasional frivolous thing together without your step-kids along; in fact, it would be a really healthy way to adjust to things. I know that there are plenty of activities we would like to do with the kids that we just couldn't afford with all 3 of them and 2 adults, so we've split up before for activities - dh taking one of his daughters on a daytrip out of town, me taking one of them to a movie. There's a big difference between buying tix and popcorn for 2 and buying them for 5!!
He is actually still paying child support. I think I might just be too selfish for all of this, and it makes me feel really bad. I am on the verge of tears at least once a day.
I have been taking my daughter out by ourselves, both in an attempt to squelch this feeling and to give her time alone. I don't know what to do about this. I am starting to feel resentful.
Wow. I make more than my husband too, but since I only have 1 stepkid, I don't mind footing the bills. I find my self being a little looser with the money for my bioson, too, but I tell myself that is because it is so much more fun to buy for a toddler than for a 10 year old. I don't know what to say. I bet if I suddenly had 3 insted of 1 stepkid it would freak me out finacially, too. Obviously the paying of child support will soon stop? I have just taken my extra financial burdens as just the way it is. The cost of loving a guy with a kid.
You're not selfish! Your feelings are pretty natural, given the huge changes going on in your life. Like you said, you worked really hard to get your life to a point where you felt in control and able to afford some nice extras for you and your daughter, and this has thrown you for a loop. It's already a big thing adjusting to living with a man whose kids visit every second weekend (we did that for years before we moved cities, and it can be so strange and intense to have them there and then not), and who pays child support that then leaves your house. You adjusted ok to that, and then boom, this happens. Cut yourself some slack!

How does he feel about money, little luxuries, and so on? Was he stressed about the $1000 camping trip or does he just figure things take care of themselves? If he's freaked out too, you need to talk about it - and if he doesn't perceive the problem and the stress that you're under, you still need to talk about it. I'd try to avoid putting him on the defensive, but just say that while the kids are great, obviously your ballooning family size really means you need to take a fresh look at things financial.

If he earns less than you, that's fine, but he really does need to take the initiative to find out how to get out of the child support. I don't know how complicated your arrangement is or how contentious that would be with your stepkids' mom - with us, we'd have to get a court order ending support payments even if the kids came to live with us. But I'm guessing that child support for 3 kids is nothing to sneeze at. Besides, it isn't child support anymore, is it? It's ex support.
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I don't know. My gut was keep your money. The fact this burns you and there hasn't been a lot of discussion on how this will be handled may speak to something about your relationship and where you are/were heading. You can't take on other peoples baggage all the time unless you really want to - it doesn't work when you feel it is forced on you.

Money is BIG in divorce in lots of ways.
Whilst I know you don't want to hear this, you need to go and talk to him about this. At the very least, about withholding the child support money- about what happens to his daughters long-term, how you finance this, the works.
What we do is that we each keep 10% of our wages as our own money to do what we need to with- obviously, for Steve that's more than me. Any productivity bonuses or stuff like that is also ours to keep. The rest gets pooled to cover everything. The thing is, it sounds like- to you- this could be the deal-breaker. That maintaining that level of comfort to you is important to you and he should be working harder to join you on YOUR level, instead of suggesting (expecting?) you move down a notch. Or fund him. And if this is how you're feeling, then nothing I can say will help- you just need to figure out where your heart is leading.
Two things here are standing out, to me:

You had a goal of a certain standard of living since, obviously, before you came together with your current dp. You took specific steps to implement your plan, and create for yourself and your dd your goal. So that is something you've had for a long time, long before dp came along, and, when the new dp came you found that he fit into that picture in a realistic way in the context that the relationship began. But then that context changed, which brings me to the second thing I noticed from your posts:

You did not get together with him under the arrangement you now currently live. That means, to me, that he should be stepping up to the plate, responding to the changes more actively. He should be looking for solutions to this -- IS HE?

I can see how it might cross his mind to hope that you would continue to cover financial needs for his dc, assuming he knows the dollar amount of your earnings. If that is the case (I'm just guessing), then he might not feel as motivated; he might just think it all works out well that you make X amount of $ and that it will conveniently cover the whole family's needs. He might not realize that you have certain priorities and that it is not 'fine' with you that your money be spread out in this way.

That is why I agree with the pps regarding communication. It is not good to assume and mind-read -- much better to ask questions and speak your truth and needs.
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I make 3 times what dh makes and that was a big deal for him when we met and early into our relationship. Now that being said, you and dh need to find out what is going on with his ex. He should call the judge that set up his divorce or SOMEONE and let them know about the new or temp living situation and the continued child support.

For us, dh pays over $500/month including child care expenses for children that don't go to daycare... but we can't change that because we don't have FT custody.

If this ex is giving up custody, she shouldn't get the child support payments. Period.

That will help reduce some of the burden. I know that I have spend thousands on dh's kids in addition to what he pays monthly. I buy the kids clothes, toys, furniture... etc. All of which is just to help create a decent living environment while they stay with us. Dh is eternally grateful for this. He knows that most women would never have stepped up like I have.

If you do not feel comfortable paying for his kids, tell him so he knows and you'll have to work something out.
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I really think you need to take a look inside yourself and decide for sure if this is something you want. The reality is, you are in a relationship with a man with children of his own. If something ever happened permanently to their mother, not simply her "disappearing", you'd have to raise those children and take on the financial responsibilities.
Please excuse me for saying this to you, but I do not believe finances have everything to do with the way you are feeling. It is one thing to have visitation with these children. Now they are with you fulltime. It has changed your usual routine in more ways than financial, and I think that is the real cause of your anxiety. And feeling overwhelmed is normal. If it is making you rethink whether or not you should remain in the relationship, though, it is not.
You need to have a serious conversation with your fiance. You need to explain to him that you are feeling overwhelmed with all the sudden changes in your life, and you really need to decide before the children get more adjusted to their new situation, whether or not you can handle it.
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I would like to thank you all for your feedback. I am still in the same place with the same concerns, nomatter how much I think about it I can't leave the people I love. I just have to figure out another way. He has finally gotten a court date to get full custody & his child support ended. I suppose I am just feeling impatient and a little bit drawn. I guess I just don't have the faith he does. He honestly believes everything will work out as long as we are together. HHHHHMMMMMMM! I am trying.
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