Friday, January 29, 2010

My Kids or My Spouse?

You married for love. You married forever. But you never expected your marriage would involve having to choose between your new spouse and your children. But here you are, torn between your parental instinct to protect and put your children first and your desire to make this marriage work by forming those ties that bind - and quickly!

One of the toughest choices I hear about, working with stepfamilies, is the painful decision biological parents have to make when their children from a former relationship take sides against the new spouse. What you had hoped would become a beautiful new family is suddenly a living nightmare of demands, hurt feelings, and having to settle battles between the people you love equally.

In fact, this conflict between spouse and children is at the root of most stepfamily divorces. Whether it's a straight challenge of "them or me," or another battle that comes from the tension caused by that conflict, the parental urge and confusion tears hearts apart. It's just more than many parents can stand, so they quit on the marriage. Or the stepparent surrenders to the feelings of being chosen second after the kids.

Where Should Your Loyalty Lie?

There is a link between a parent and their child that transcends location or frequency of time together. The love between you and your children will continue throughout your and their lives. Although my own mother has been gone for ten years now, I still love her and think of her almost daily. She will always be in my heart.

You will never lose that connection with your babies, not even if you remarry, when they marry, or if they move across the country. Your hearts will forever be linked. They say parents and children are "blood relatives," and that makes sense in more than one way - your hearts beat out your love and concern with each pulse.

The same should be true for your loyalty and connection to your spouse. You may not be connected by blood or DNA, but the vows you made when you married are as binding. 

When you wooed and won your sweetheart (can you remember that time?), you demonstrated and spoke guarantees that were part of the reason they accepted your proposal. Whether your particular vows included traditional statements such as "for richer or poorer," "in sickness or in health," or "til death do us part," you were making that age-old promise to remain faithfully loyal to your partner no matter what.

Unless your vows included exceptionary clauses, such as "unless my kids get difficult," or "but only as long as it's fun and easy," you placed yourself in a position to either be true or to be a liar. And you did this with your full conscious mind and will. No one made you get married. No one coerced you into stating and signing, in front of God and many legal witnesses, your sacred promise to remain married for the rest of your life.

Now, in most cases, becoming a parent was not such a considered, consciously determined, publicly committed-to situation. (Of course, some of you did adopt or take extraordinary measures to become pregnant, but for many, it just miraculously happened.) The beginning of your relationship with your baby was probably one of surprise and on-the-spot determination to love them. And, while this does not lessen your commitment to your child, it does place the two issues — your relationship to your child and your relationship to your spouse — on different levels. 

Ask yourself, the next time you're feeling pulled between your spouse and your children, which one of these two did you beg, bargain, and make great promises to in order to get them to be yours for life? The answer is, certainly, your spouse. You have a pledge of loyalty to him or her. You laid your reputation and your good name on the line in your guarantee that you would never turn your back on them.

I'm not suggesting that you should not take the greatest care possible of your children - far from that! I am, however, suggesting that you show your children how seriously you take promises and vows. That you teach them to be honest and true by your example. That you keep your focus on your commitment to love til death do you part, no matter what.

Where should your loyalty lie? Where did you swear it would?

God bless you as you struggle with these issues. I fully understand the difficulty in it. If you need help in making your marriage relationship more reliable and more enjoyable, I'll be happy to help you. But whatever you do, give it your all. Your spouse, and your children, deserve to see your commitment daily.



54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Then perhaps I shouldn't marry, if I'm not ready to put this person ahead of my kids?

STEPcoach said...

Thank you for writing ... it is not so much a matter of putting one ahead of the other. Rather it is a matter of demonstrating to your children the importance of marriage. If you were married to the father of your children, you would have the same responsibility. If, for instance, your son refused to obey his father (your husband), would you agree that your son should obey his parents? Of course you would. (Provided your husband was not asking your son to do something harmful to himself.)
You would be teaching your son the importance of a marriage partnership and loyalty to your mate.
It is the same in a second marriage. You are not placing your husband before your son, you are simply showing him the way a marriage should properly operate. As long as you and your mate (stepdad) agree to do what's best for your mutual children, your partnership will be a teaching tool to them, not a betrayal.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 children from previous relationships...they have gone thru a lot....my son has been super difficult...my husband of 2 years wants to move out of state after he gets his degree and wants to leave my son with his dad that wants nothing to do with him...says his dad needs to deal with him...how do you choose between your husband and your child?

STEPcoach said...

This is not an unusual development in stepfamilies, unfortunately. Stepkids are the number one reason for marriage trouble in 2nd and 3rd marriages. You don't say how old you son is, and this can make quite a difference. If the boy is 2 years old, he has no control over his actions and the responsibility is fully on the adults. If he is 17, however, he is old enough to take some responsibility for his actions.
Also, you say his father wants nothing to do with him - why not? Do they have a history of problems, is his father untrustworthy or abusive, is the father just irresponsible regarding his son? All these factors matter a great deal, too.
A stepfather signs a contract to love and support his wife in all situations when he marries. running away from that contractual promise is a crucial decision. He must consider carefully the ramifications of this long lasting and deep reaching choice on his family for years to come.
And finally, a biological parent in a stepfamily has huge responsibilities, too. You have to decide how strongly you feel about the vows you made to your husband. Depending on the age of your son, whom you stand with can have critical effects on his understanding of marriage loyalty later in life when he is a husband. Do you want to teach him that children come before husband - wife, or that vows of marriage are above all else? (NOTE: his age is one of the most vital factors in this decision.)

I will be happy to help you and your husband work to a comfortable solution in this matter, but I will need to talk to both of you by phone if not in person. In 18 years of counseling stepfamilies, I've dealt successfully with this same issue many times. I can help you, too. If you will be willing to both work for your marriage, your family, and your futures.

You may contact me through this forum or more privately email me directly at stepcoach@gmail.com

I wish you the best, for yourselves, and for your children.

STEPcoach Bob Collins

Anonymous said...

This is the life im lving, but a little different. I have been with my husband for 9 years, he has a daughter that he has had custody of since she was a baby, she is now 18. Since the day we met she was a little out of control, I always thought somehow she would change. As she has gotten older she has caused so much turmoil in our relationship! I walked out the door 4 years ago and was gone for over a year and he constantly called and begged me to come back, with promises that things would change. Well im not writing because they did, his promises were empty and she is worse than ever. 18 not going to school, unemployed and does nothing to help around the house, for her life is a party and her father is funding it. The fights with my husband over this crap is totally out of control, and I find myself looking for a apartment again. I want out! I am treated like a second class citizen, my wants and needs are always put on the back burner becuse of this unruly young adult. I asked him if hes happy with his choices and all I get is "thats my kid". So, im what im saying is, I have been put 2nd in this mans life and I dont want to take it anymore. And im out!

Anonymous said...

My husband has an adult male child from a previous relationship. We had not even been together 3 months when this high school dropout, no ambition having, disrespectful, and rude "child" came to stay with us. The young man chooses to stay locked up in the room and not socialize or speak with anyone. My husband think I should initiate conversation and activities with this grown a** man yo bond with him. I have tried to talk with him for approximately 2 years and still to no avail. My husbands complains I am the malicious one because I choose not to force the issue. Heck he's grown and he can choose who he wants to deal with. My husband has placed him before me and states "he will continue to "help" him. I'm tired of this and sometimes don't want to come home.

Anonymous said...

If I had knew all this I will never consider remarriage. The stress I have lived the last years is way more than I can stand. After 5 years I have just choosed my kids. I know I can be wrong decision but I am stressful to dead and will do anything to reconnect with my teenage daughters from now until my last breath in life. I blame my husband for five years for choosing him during that time. I am sorry for him and us together but at least relieved and calm. My house is starting to feel like a home again this week. Chances I regret later for for now I do not think so. Someone should advise couples considering remarriage before they do.

Anonymous said...

After 5 years of being together and 2 yrs of marriage i still constantly feel like i am required to choose between my husband and my kids. I dont think he should be the ones punishing them, and when I dont when he thinks i should it becomes a real big fight. I am not happy at all. I don't want to live like this anymore.

Anonymous said...

I've been together with my wife for over 10 years. She's got 2 girls (13 and 18 years old) from a previous marriage, which are living with us in London, United Kingdom and I have a daughter (14 years old) from a previous marriage, who lives with us only one month every year during school holiday, the other 11 month of the year living in Bulgaria with my ex.
Recently, my daughter asked me if she can move to study in London this summer, as, undoubtedly, studying and getting employment in United Kingdom is a better future than in Bulgaria. I spoke to my wife, she agreed to this and my daughter obtained her mum’s agreement too. My wife then told me that she changed her mind, as life would become more difficult and costly. I understand her point, but I was by her and her kids for all those years, regardless of being difficult, so I consider reasonable that she accept my daughter.
I am trying to resolve this for weeks, but she tells me that she won’t accept her and we are to divorce if she comes.
I would really appreciate some opinions.

STEPcoach said...

Her insistence that she will divorce if your daughter comes to live with you sounds like much more than a spur-of-the-moment objection. What other issues have occurred over the ten years of your marriage that would lead your wife to refuse to share her home with your daughter? I find it difficult to understand her inflexible stance on this request unless she has other reasons to object. Can you provide more information - either here, or directly to me privately at stepcoach@gmail.com ?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding to me. I will be in touch with you via email.
I hope for a happy ending and positive comments in here afterwards. ;-)

Anon said...

I agree that you chose your spouse; however, I also believe that you have a deeper responsibility to your children BECAUSE you didn't choose them, nor did they choose you. I have seen firsthand in my own husband what years of borderline abuse from his stepmother caused - all because his father chose his wife over him consistently. Not only did this dynamic his damage my husband's self esteem well into adulthood- he still suffers from severe anxiety - but it destroyed his relationship with his father. Your blanket approach is extremely detrimental to families with dealing with actual problems, not simply unruly or annoying children. My husband is the best person I know despite years of horrible treatment from his stepmother and acquiescence by his father that continues to this day (well into our thirties). I have begged him to cut contact but he needs to do it in his own time. Your "advice" that you should choose your new spouse over your children is shameful and quite frankly ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

My Husband (a minister) and I have been married for 2.5 years. He and my 17 year old, get along when my husband feels like it. He doesn't really want anything to do with my Daughter whose now 20. Just recently he threw my son out of the house because my son didn't speak to him one day. He told him he would never amount to anything in College and he cant read. He will be graduating from High school in a couple of months with a 3.2+ GPA. I am torn to pieces. My husband knew what he was getting into at the beginning. Over the last 2.5 years my relationship with my parents, and sister and other family members has been strained. He tells me all the time that they don't care about me, and he don't want nothing to do with them. He asked for a Divorce (for the second time).He just recently told me that if anything goes on with my kids or family he doesn't want to know anything. And if my son ever "punch me in the face" he just going to walk out the house. Once a month at least anything no matter how small will make him go off. So for the last week anytime I come home I began to feel sick. My chest begins to hurt, my throat gets tights, and my body gets hot. There is so much more. Right now I am lost I don't know what to do.

Beazyshambles said...

I have all but given up on my 26 year marriage. I have talked endlessly with my spouse about her putting her now adult children's needs ahead of mine. Needless to say it has caused a lot of conflict, and I really don't want to be involved with her kids at this point. Now my stepson has twins and that has added even more problems. My parents say it's obvious what goes on and that it's only going to get worse with grandkids involved. I do get angry about this and then get accused of being hard to get along with. My stepdaughter told me she thinks I wish they didn't exist and that if my wife and I ever break up, she will have no reason to speak to me ever again. I just don't know what else to do because my wife will not admit she ever does this. She just blames me for family stress. She says things are fine if it is just the two of us but get anyone else involved and there is a problem. I say that as soon as the kids show up I become invisible or am just expected to do whatever they want. She is on the phone with them daily. We still get a 27 year olds mail at our house. We cancelled our 25 wedding anniversary vacation plans that we had for five years because her son decided to get married at the exact same time of those plans. He was fully aware of the plans and she was mad at me for being upset about it.

Unknown said...

I know this has been up since 2010 but I'm hoping someone reads this and can give me some advice. I have two children from a previous marriage, ages 8 and 10, both girls. I'm happily married for the second for three years now. My husband has some health problems both physical and mental, but I love him none the less. Now I'm faced with a dilema due to a problem he has. When he was younger he was molested by his father, but he's always been great with my kids, they love him!!! But he was online, became curious and the authorities found child pornography on his computer. 35 photos go be exact. I know he has problems, and he told me it wasn't exciting to him, just a curiousity. Given that, my mother says if I stay with him through this she will be forced to take me to court and remove my parental rights, which is only half since I have joint custody, my ex is also on board with this. They say because I support him that I must be OK with it. That is false, I'm highly pissed! But I love him, and want to help him through this. No, I don't want him around the kids right now. He has not been charged with anything yet but I'm sure he'll have to register. I want to protect my kids, but I need to support him as well. Unfortunately, my family and my kids father are making me choose, though his family has been supportive. Someone please tell me, what do I do??!! I love my kids, I can't live without them, but my husband is my soul mate, I can't live without him either.

Unknown said...

I know this has been up since 2010 but I'm hoping someone reads this and can give me some advice. I have two children from a previous marriage, ages 8 and 10, both girls. I'm happily married for the second for three years now. My husband has some health problems both physical and mental, but I love him none the less. Now I'm faced with a dilema due to a problem he has. When he was younger he was molested by his father, but he's always been great with my kids, they love him!!! But he was online, became curious and the authorities found child pornography on his computer. 35 photos go be exact. I know he has problems, and he told me it wasn't exciting to him, just a curiousity. Given that, my mother says if I stay with him through this she will be forced to take me to court and remove my parental rights, which is only half since I have joint custody, my ex is also on board with this. They say because I support him that I must be OK with it. That is false, I'm highly pissed! But I love him, and want to help him through this. No, I don't want him around the kids right now. He has not been charged with anything yet but I'm sure he'll have to register. I want to protect my kids, but I need to support him as well. Unfortunately, my family and my kids father are making me choose, though his family has been supportive. Someone please tell me, what do I do??!! I love my kids, I can't live without them, but my husband is my soul mate, I can't live without him either.

DCD said...

I have been married to my present husband 28 years. When we married, I had 4 children from a previous marriage; he had none. Naturally, my loyalties were divided between my new husband and my children. I tried my best to be attentive to all of them, but in all honestly the were the ones that got the shorter end of the stick when it came to attention and time spent.
My children have been mostly silent about the neglect they felt, though from time to time they have told me, in no uncertain terms, that I always put my husbands needs above theirs.
As adults, they seem to be bitter about the perceived neglect. My youngest, a daughter even went as far as to write a long letter to me about their feelings. She says they still feel I should pay them more attention than I do, and though I try, it's very difficult to juggle the needs of a husband, ailing father, ageing mother, 14 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. And yes, four adult children.
I would love some advice, and especially I want to know what to say to my children that won't make me sound defensive, or that I am hurt or angry at them.

Anonymous said...

I am ready to leave. He has put his 17 year old son before our marriage since the beginning. He has lived with us full time for 5 years now. He has no job, smokes pot and does NOTHING around the house but trash his room and complain when his clothes are not washed. Not alone cannot explain the reason he carries over 1000 dollars in his wallet. My husband makes every excuse possible and I have lost every fight. My husband knows my feelings and has for years. He insists I am the crazy one and he looks thru his own world with Rose colored glasses. I am not asking him to pick me over his son but I am the one who said til death do us part and he does not realize his son will not be around forever like his own spouse will. His son pretty much rules the roost and has no respect for my husband. I am done

Unknown said...

My husband and I have been married for 3 years. My 12-year-old son has lived with us throughout the marriage. For the last year and a half, his 28-year-old daughter has lived with us while finishing nursing school. My main issue is with him, rather than my stepdaughter. Although I know she is in school, my stepdaughter only worked for the first few months she lived with us. She often sleeps most of the day if not in class and studies at night. I provide a lot of her food too, since she doesn't have an income. However, my husband rarely criticizes her, but he never misses an opportunity to criticize my son for not doing enough chores or playing his games too much, even though he has school and band everyday. I have in response to his criticism, made occasional comments that she could do more as well, which of course aren't received well. Am I missing something?

Unknown said...

My husband and I have been married for 3 years. My 12-year-old son has lived with us throughout the marriage. For the last year and a half, his 28-year-old daughter has lived with us while finishing nursing school. My main issue is with him, rather than my stepdaughter. Although I know she is in school, my stepdaughter only worked for the first few months she lived with us. She often sleeps most of the day if not in class and studies at night. I provide a lot of her food too, since she doesn't have an income. However, my husband rarely criticizes her, but he never misses an opportunity to criticize my son for not doing enough chores or playing his games too much, even though he has school and band everyday. I have in response to his criticism, made occasional comments that she could do more as well, which of course aren't received well. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Im in a relationship where before we moved together i told my spouse her daughter didnt like me, and they didnt believe me. So that we moved together now she see's it. Her daughter doesnt speak to me, when she walks into the house she doesnt say anything, i gave her a bed, because she didnt have one and didnt even say Thank you. I let her daughter know we need to talk about this, and she was rude saying she dont have to respect me, and said its not my fucking house its her Mom, and that she dont give a Fuck what i say and think. I was so pissed because it is my house, and she does has to respect me. Oh i forgot she is 24yrs old, have nothing going for herself, and cant keep a job, and smokes weed all day everyday. Im so stressed what can i do. This is just the least of whats happening, sorry for all the curse words just wanted you to see what im going through

Anonymous said...

My current wife and I are currently separated. We are working on ourselves and deciding weather or not this marriage is good for either of us. My eleven year old daughter from my first marriage does not like the fighting and does not want to come back and live with us (at times when I have her) if my current wife and I were to resolve and get back together. My daughter's mother has also said that she does not have to and would/will keep her from coming over. What do I do in a situation like this?

Unknown said...

Looks like maybe I am the dumb one for staying

Anonymous said...

I am torn between my 11 year old son and new partner. My last relationship was with my sons dad for 11 years it was not great we argued daily and he wouldnt do anything with us. I then met someone really beautiful who loves me so much and i couldnt believe that true real love exists. The problem is my partner cannot stand my son, he doesnt know we are together as my new partner is a woman, whenever i approached tbe subject hypothetically he said he would leave home if i was gay. He gets rude and jealous to her and its really difficult. I now keep them apart but my girlfriend wants me to move in with her and her family (mum and brother) and start a new life but not with my child. I love her dearly but being in the middle like this is killing me, i literally dont know what to do because ive never had so much love given me but my maternal instinct it yo ne loyal to my child.

crystal adams said...

My situation is a bit different. My daughter is 17, never been in trouble and doing great in school. My husband, whom has no children of his own, is always starting arguments with me because he thinks the kids disrespect him. If they leave a dish in the sink,he starts a fight.
Most recently, my husband took my daughters boyfriend home. The next day he told me that he thought he heard them talking and he thought they was showing body parts. Now I personally would have addressed the situation that night, but he didn't tell me until the next day. So I talked to my daughter and she said that,that's not what the discussion was about and provided her own explanation. I believe her and have no reason not to. But now my husband thinks that I don't believe him. I believe the both of them. He even stated himself that he "thought" he heard what they was talking about. Am I in the wrong for believing my child and my husband? Because it gets really tiring defending the both of them and being in the middle.

Anonymous said...

I'm in a dilemma. I have 4 kids at home, 2 boys 9 & 11 years and 2 girls 14 & 17. I'm not married but have been with my boyfriend 5 years living together 3 years. My bf wants my 2 oldest out of the house due to their disrespectful behavior towards him & me at times. I love this guy and he has been a blessing in our lives and has done more for my kids than their dad.(they don't have good relationship with their dad). I see how my bf is done with their disrespect cuz I am too, but I can't bare to not have them here(where are they supposed to even go at those ages) or have to not have some type of relationship with them. I feel like I'm stuck between choosing my kids or my other half and I don't know what to do.

Unknown said...

My husband and I got married a year ago. His son is 7 mine is 3. I'm now due any day to have our son. The problem for us is his son lives in Indiana and mine lives in Texas. We have been living in Texas for almost the whole marriage. Before we got married we lived there. The stress of being away from his son caused a lot of problems for him and is so hes currently there. My question is should I move up there and work on our marriage because I don't want to be without him or do I stay here and not leave my son.. I'm not sure which is worst.. I could use some advice..

Anonymous said...

MY HEART IS BREAKING...my husband and I only married 5 months ago. He had a very messy divorce with a woman who hates me and vowed to destroy me. He has an 18 year old daughter who is extremely academically bright. She manipulates, has constant anxiety attacks and insists that they be alone without me. He basically had a fit the other night saying his daughter needs him and rushed out screaming and swearing at me because he wanted to meet with her. The whole situation is out if hand and I am seriously considering leaving this marriage. I am lost.

Anonymous said...

Today is Father's Day and I'm at the library writing because my husband decided to celebrate himself with his grown children who are rude and disrespectful to me just because he remarried. One of his "children" is ex step-son from prior marriage and he and his new baby and girlfriend are actually at my house and the young lady was giving me dirty looks. I told my husband and he got angry with me for saying anything about it because he didn't want anything to ruin his day smh...We have been married for 18 months and he has been divorced for 6 years. I can't imagine going thru life like this. I will not tolerate the disrespect from the young adults and I shouldn't be put in this position by my husband. of his two biological young adult children, the daughter is blatantly sarcastic and he corrects me in front of her whenever I say anything at all, but the son is respectful of me because he used to live with us and his problems were with his father and I helped him .

troubledstepmom said...

My husband and I have a total of six children. Three are from his previous marriage oldest 17, and twins age 11. I have one from a previous relationship age 11 and we have two together, ages 5 and 9 months.
We have been together 6 years and married 2 years. I am on the verge of leaving him and filing for divorce. His relationship with his daughter 17 years old is more like husband and wife. He looks to her for advice and support in my absence and when we are in disagreements. I have shown love, and respect to her only to feel betrayed and second to her. They both blame me for having destroyed their relationship when I got together with him. I feel so hurt. I did nothing intentional but found she was his priority and she needed all his attention so I tried to get him to open up to other children in our home. Not sure in their eyes this is what they blame me for but that's the only thing I can honestly say they must have both not been ready for.
They are a team and I am left out it seems during day to day activities. She has turned us against each other during critical times in our relationship with her boyfriend issues while I was pregnant. I have come to my final decision of asking him to have her live at her mom's instead of with us or I am leaving and divorcing him. My heart wants to stay strong until she is on her own for the sake of my children but it's so painful I don't know if I can take another fight or dissagreement. What is your advice?

Wind Blown said...

My husband had an assessment opened up on him by CPS due to slapping my son and leaving a mark. Prior to that about a year before I had experienced some domestic abuse from him and we separated. We reconciled and are now at a point where he says my 7 year old son needs to leave or he leaves. He says that my son is too difficult to deal with and the stress is too much for him.He's got me in a pinch bc we are due to have our second child together in one month. We also have a one year old. What would you suggest?

Anonymous said...

What about if the spouse has harmed your child but you don't want to lose contact with your stepchild who you love as your own?

Anonymous said...

Me and my wife has been married for 11 years and we have had a great marriage and she has 2 daughters from a previous marriage that I have raised with her, and she is letting them decide if we should be together cause I'm strict as a parent, (I don't spank never have and never touched them at all) but I expected them to do chores around the house. Now they claim I'm to mean and my wife has asked me to leave until they say it's ok for me to come home. Me and my wife has a 11 year old that has no say in the matter, just the 16 year old and 15 year old. I've asked about us going to counseling but I was denied of us going...pleaseverything any advice would help me alot thank you

Anonymous said...

I have two children from a previous relationship. 11 and 12. My 12 year old has down syndrome. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and have a 2 year old together. Our problem lies with my 11 year old daughter. Both my husband and my daughter both say they dont like each other. He thinks she is manipulative, and lazy and disrespectful. He doesnt think I am strict enough and so on. I look at her as being sensitive, a sweet girl and her attitude, well she is a child. Children make mistakes. He doesnt seem to look at it like that, and I feel like if she breathes wrong he gets mad at her. He is often negative towards her, so she avoids him and doesnt speak to him. He takes that as disrespect. I have been the middle person, always defending him to her, and her to him. I back him up with discipline, but sometimes I disagree with his tactics, as I do with our daughter together. He tells me I put her first, and dont consider his feelings. I dont know what to do anymore and we are on the brink of divorce. He doesnt seem to want to try and repair their relationship, as I have made suggestions for them to go do something fun alone, so they could get to know each other. he is not interested. She tells me he makes her feel bad, and that she thinks I value his opinion more than hers. And I do worry about him affecting her self esteem, as I grew up with a step father who wasnt very nice to me, it did affect me. Who do I choose in this situation? I dont know what is the right thing to do, and I am giving up on trying to make him happy.

Anonymous said...

I have raised my son alone, and am proud of what a responsible young man he has become. Working and paying his own car and insurance and personal needs. My husband and I dated for 5 years before marrying. After marriage, my husband did not want to make room for me in his home, as he "would have to get rid of stuff". Well, yes, that's what happens when you combine homes. So, we live separately, me with my son. My son and I have a close relationship, and we planned for him to buy my house so I can live with husband. My husband calls my son "the other husband", which I find disturbing and offensive. Now he says he had given me a time frame to move (even though he refused to make room for me) now my time up-he has never before mentioned this to me-and he said he is moving in with my son and me. I know this will bring more troubles, as he complains about my son all the time (his son has been in jail, has a child, and is receiving welfare).
How can I turn my back on my son?

Anonymous said...

Feeling uncertain about my husband's commmittment. We have been married for 3 years. I knew when we were dating, his relationship with my now step daughter (SD) was unusually close. But I attributed my feelings to coming from a family that encouraged emotional independence in order to perservere through educational demands and reach goals. Meeting her during the dating process was pleasant, but my now husband was what I thought understandably nervous. Well, we planned a beautiful wedding and I invited her to be my maid of honor. The gross displays of inappropriateness started there. At the altar, she rolled her eyes and heaved deep breaths during the vow exchange. My husband neither believed me nor sympathized with my dismay over this behavior. Instead, he shortly after the reception where she made inappropriate comments, invited her into the wedding suite (a place I thought was sacred). In the middle of our wedding night, she called asking for gas money. He left to give it to her. On our honeymoon, while out of the country, she called requesting he find a way to pay her rent....the list goes on. Not to mention 95% of the time she addresses me as "Hey", although I have told her she may address me by my first name. My husband says he has addressed this with her, but regrettably no change in her behavior. SD otherwise is cordial enough, but far beneath what I deem a degree of reasonable propriety. We relocated from the Midwest to the South after my mother passed. He did not work the first year, paid rent for SD althogh she was living with her bio mom. I bought a house and he did not provide assistance for down payment or financing. He does help financially (about 30% of monthly costs) but not without me asking. Now, there is a heavy campaign to move her (now 21 yo and a college grad) into the marital home. She has no job prospects. I feel it would be marital suicide to allow this as my husband does not acknowledge the blatant disrespect. I feel as though I am turning blue in the face attempting to explain to him that getting her an apartment nearby is not a good idea. She will likely attempt to spend a lot of time at the house while I am at work. I feel visits should be scheduled, given the history, but my husband certainly would not comply. I think he loves me, but I feel deep inside she is the priority... and at my expense emotionally and financially. Am I unreasonable to want to maintain a healthy distance and continue to voice my feelings against her moving 3000 miles from home to live in a $1000 per month apartment with no job. They seem desperate to be close to one another. He tells me she is distraught. I feel the bridge for now at least has been burned. Shouldn't he demonstrate more clearly his marital committment. I know marriage involves compromise and sacrifice, but to what end? Please help!

Unknown said...

Is this post line still open? I remarried and have three kids. My new wife hates my ex and thinks ex is always messing things up with schedules and the kids (which is not really true). We have been together for 2 years, married few months, but thing worsen. Few weeks back, while my three kids in the living room, late night, new wife and I arguing because she thinks me and ex are ruing her (new wife) life and she got so angry and mad, she hit me (my ex-wife never hit me once in 13 years), grabbed the bed sheets to strangle herself and grabbed two letter openers to stab herself. I kicked her out and she stayed at a friends for two days, threaten me that she call the police on me saying I hurt her (because she had bruises when I had to hold her down from hurting herself while the kids were here) and she was really defending herself (which she even told the pastor the truth and that lie will not hold well), and will have the police go after the ex, just because she "wants justice against me and ex." New wife is very tense and stressed and OCD beyond control (my place of books and toys for the kids is "too much"), but will not take meds. Now my ex has the kids and the kids are never allowed to go near new wife. My kids no longer can come over (forget Christmas with them). My pastor is trying to help us, but is it worth it if I can not have my kids over? I can not spend money out of the home, so I go nothing to do but get them entertained at a park for hours and hours, every couple of days???

Anonymous said...

I have been in a relationship for 11 years now. I have a son (15) and daughter (12) from a previous marriage. My son was 4 when we divorced. I met my current fiance who also has a daughter (now also 15) from a previous relationship, about 8 months there after and we instantly connected. At that stage I had nothing and had to rebuild myself. My ex had custody of the kids however with her lifestyle she lived, the kids were exposed to alot, their living conditions was very bad, not alot food, clothes, values, hygiene. It eventually ended up by my ex's parent intervening so that the kids can stay with us. They have been living with us for over a year now, they are very quite, but do not seem react correctly to my fiance who is a very strong and honest person. We end up having fights as I feel sorry for my kids and it is creating a wedge between us. At this stage the only option that my fiance and ex's family suggest is that the kids be sent to boarding school. I dont know what to do as I do not want to rune my kids future, however I also believe that I have a responsibility to my fiance for being there for me. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

This article is awful. My dad remarried a mentally unstable who routinely verbally abused my sister and me. He always took her side and eventually this woman took him for everything he had.

Anonymous said...

I was asked by Sue when we were both in our golden years (and both widowed) to be her partner for life. Her grown kids resent my intrusion into the family. I tried for years to become accepted but gave up when realizing it was of no use. They come to visit, I feel awkward, neglected, rejected, left out. Sue believes and has told me the following: 1. That she has told them how much she loves me. 2. But that this doesn't matter to them and that they will never stop resenting me. 3. She could never, nor will ever, tell them to accept us both or else. I feel "sacrificed" for the sake of her not losing her (grown) children. She has tried to set an example of commitment to me with them. But that doesn't matter to them. So I suffer this "disconnection" from them all in our own home. When they leave, it is relatively peaceful and life is back to normal. But when they walk through the front door, I have no alternative but to escape this uncomfortable situation, remaining isolated and alone until they are gone. Please help.

Anonymous said...

My husband has paranoid personality disorder. He and my children (from a different relationship) had a goid relationship from the beginning . Now we have been married for 2 and half years and his disorder has gotten worse. The constant lack of trust or just paranoid has caused some issues as he dorsntvsee his kids 2. And now my daughter wants me to choose between her and my husband. My daughter us 18 and i love her dearly.

Anonymous said...

I find it helpful to read about other step-mom's that feel like they have been not receiving the emotional support they need from their husbands. I have a very different situation in that my stepdaughter lives in Australia and we only see her 4-6 weeks out of the year. However, when she is around or calls she is the number 1 priority. For a while I just dealt with it because it doesn't occur that often and I realize it's out of guilt, but recently after my husband and I suffered our own loss of another unsuccessful IVF attempt and she was in town, it was very evident just how hurtful it was. He worried about her emotions and did not offer any emotional support to me over and over. I now realize this will always be the case. I will always take the back seat to her. I wish I would have known this prior to getting married. It's not a feeling a wife should ever have to feel. It is betrayal and so hurtful, especially when they are your number one and it's not reciprocated.

Quiltingranny said...

I disagree with this post on several issues. The first being not all step-parents give a hoot about the step-kids and the second is some step-parents or potential step-parents are simply not meant to parent. My son is in a relationship with a horrible woman. In the beginning we thought she was amazing and after a few months it became obvious that she is the evil step-mother. While her youngest is allowed to go around hitting, telling people he is going to kill them, she thinks this is funny. When I told him to not hit me, she advised me 'I'll discipline him when I think he needs it.'Her teen daughter doesn't have to do chores, can have her boyfriend over behind closed doors in the dark under the covers, never gets any consequences. On the other hand, our grandchildren have to pick up her dirty dishes, rinse them, do her chores and frequently lose their cell phones for not removing a speck of dirt off the floor. Prior to the holidays and during, she began staying out late at night, not coming home saying she was out shopping...really, the malls close at 10 and you are shopping at midnight? When my son asked her to marry him, she got up and stormed out leaving a very awkward silence. She kicked my son and his kids out, but he keeps calling her and last night she told him, his daughter owes her an apology because she told her 'you don't love my dad, you don't deserve my dad if you can't see how much he loves you then you are truly stupid.' We all see it, the verbal abuse he takes from her the moment she walks in the door, the posting on FB of selfies and her kids but not any of he and her or his kids. It is all about her and say what you want, I say dump her and move on! NOT all relationships should become a marraige!

Michelle Fross said...

I have only one biological child. My 8 almost 9 year old son. I divorced his dad when he was just a year old. I remarried in 2013 and love my husband dearly. He has custody of his two daughters ages 8&6. I've been the only mommy they know. The first 2.5 years of our marriage my husband worked in the oilfield having 7 days on and 7 days off. Then he got laid off. He has been home for a year and just recently got a job for a trucking company. He now has no set schedule or days off. He also is 140 miles away. This was not our plan. He wanted to drive trash truck but this opportunity came and although I asked him not to take the job he said he had to for our finances. He has been gone for over two weeks and has no idea when he will be able to come home. Although he is not OTR we cannot afford for him to come home nightly. So he has been staying with our friend. I am struggling with him being gone and am not handling it well at all. I share custody with my ex for a week on week off arrangement of our son. I have never minded him being gone but after having him home for a year and us agreeing that he wouldn't go back to being gone. I have completely lost my shit. I don't know what to do. I don't want to be without my husband but I am not able to get my ex to come to any agreement or compromise where our son is concerned. I have separated from my husband as this whole ordeal is causing me severe anxiety and panic attacks. I have never been a needy person or co dependant. I have always had a job and provided for my children. However I am not adjusting to this arrangement well at all. I miss my husband so much. I've tried to explain this and he says he loves me but cannot quit his job. I'm a wreck. I am a mom to my son and a wife to my husband. I have to make a decision for the overall well being of my mental health and wellness. I feel like I have to choose between my husband and my son. Not because my husband has asked me to but because I cannot go on like this. Do I divorce my husband and risk losing my girls as they are not mine legally. Or do I move closer to him and let my ex husband become full time caretaker of our son. What type of parenting plan would we need. Most important what type of mother does that make me? What would that say to my son if I made that decision? What does it say to my children if I decide to divorce instead. I'm so broken hearted and confused.

Anonymous said...

I am ready to leave. He has put his 18 year old son before our marriage since the beginning. He has lived with us full time for 5 years now. He has no job, smokes pot and does NOTHING around the house but trash his room and complain when his clothes are not washed. Not alone cannot explain the reason he carries over 1000 dollars in his wallet. My husband makes every excuse possible and I have lost every fight. My husband knows my feelings and has for years. He insists I am the crazy one and he looks thru his own world with Rose colored glasses. I am not asking him to pick me over his son but I am the one who said til death do us part and he does not realize his son will not be around forever like his own spouse will. His son pretty much rules the roost and has no respect for my husband. I am done

Unknown said...

I've been remarried for a year and a half. My daughter is in constant "I don't wanna be here" I've explained to her in many different ways that our situation is not going to change, but she won't give up. I'm at a loss w a 7 year old.
My New husband does have three girls of his own. They ALL get along very well but she still insist that it should just be her, her brother and I.
Any advice would be great. This child of mine is VERY head strong! HELP

Unknown said...

I'm in a horrible situation where my partner is wanting to split up due to me not getting on with his son (10). I get on great with his 8 year old son. We've got a 4 year old daughter together.
His eldest son does a lot to try to get a rise out of me and wind me up. Sadly last week it worked all too well and I ended up yelling at him.
His sons mum has now said I'm not allowed around the boys.
I'm faced with having to leave our home and start again with our 4 year old. I feel so heart broken.

Katie Kinch said...

I have been with my husband for 6 yrs. He has 2 daughters. 12&11. I have a daughter from a previous relationship age 12. My daughter is polite,follows rules, gets good grades and helps out. His 2 are rude, failing in school, lying, and talk to me with no respect at all. I have done a lot for these girls. I'm the one taking them to appointments, packing lunches and trying to make their life great. But every time I try to parent his kids he tells me to leave them alone or don't bother them. I have NEVER raised my voice to them. I'm just trying to help. He always picks them no matter what. I always turn into the bad guy. I have been nothing but wonderful to these kids. I treat them like they were my own. But I just keep getting pushed away. They no they can make us fight. All they have to do is tell daddy that I said something to them and he comes down on me. I love my husband very much and those kids but I'm at the end of my rope. I try to talk to him but he just dismisses me. I don't no what do. Should I just shut my mouth and not say a word? Should I leave? HELP ME!!!

Anonymous said...

I have three kids from a first marriage, and two kids from current. Due to disruptions from my ex (getting kids to spy, secret phones/emails, and other major intrusions), I felt it was best to leave town before kids got too screwed up, as co-parenting wasn't working. Now, my 11 year old son (who lives ~ 6 hrs away - (8 in the winter - we live in Minnesota), wants to live with us. I want him to live with us, but my current wife is saying that if I want him to move down that I have to move out with him. He's a good kid (she knows that), but is afraid of the ex somehow manipulating and causing hardship. This 'choosing between wife and kids' thing is a horrible, horrible feeling. I appreciate the advice given in this blogpost, but the thought of telling my son he can't live with me (and the way my ex will use that to further her parental alienation crap) is killing me.

Anonymous said...

I've been married 7 years. Blended family. My spouse and I have a child together, so 3 kids total. My husband does not treat them equally and favors his own over my other two. We have had great difficulties parenting or even keeping a marriage a float. Needless to say, I've left over him telling my two kids he no longer wants the financial burden of them. He has since asked me to LEAVE my two kids and just carry on with he and our shared child. I'm not even considering this as its appalling and infuriating that he'd feel I could "leave" a 11 year old and 8 or ask me to CHOOSE him or them

Anonymous said...

I'm divorced and in a new serious relationship. We've been talking about marriage and buying a house together and having a baby. I have a 7 year old girl from my first marriage. I feel like my daughter and my boyfriend are not connecting or bonding. I feel like have to choose between them on who gets my attention. He keeps making rules that are making her resentful of him. I know some rules are good but sometimes I think he doesn't understand the need of a parent to comfort your child and make her happy. When I choose his way it breaks my heart for her. When I choose her I feel like I let him down and I'm scared he thinks less of me or will want to leave me one day. I dont have the comfort of being married yet knowing he can't just easily walk out the door but I want to be. I'm just scared even after marriage even after she sees he's not going anywhere and that he's a real father figure that these issues won't go away. I'm trying. I don't know if anyone else is. Why can't they just love each other the way I love both of them.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi. I hope this is still active! Let me first start with some background information I met my second husband in 2006. He was an immigrant from a South American country. At the time he was married and had 2 boys (at the time 9 and 6). My husband and I married in 2012 when his boys were 15 and 12. We petitioned and were granted a Visa for his boys to immigrate to the US in 2014 (ages at the time 17 and 14). We had a very rocky road with the acclimation of the kids. The oldest was dupped into coming here by his mom (because he was following a very bad bunch of kids) and the younger one just wanted to come because his older brother was coming. The boys had a little trouble adjusting to school but otherwise seemed to be doing ok. Summer of 2015 the youngest began starving himself (when he came he was chunky - no fat). We entered him into treatment for 6 months in March 2016. One month was inpatient treatment. When he was released he seemed to be doing OK but his attitude starting turning bad. One day he turned to me and said "I don't care about you, you don't need to care about me." That did it for me. I literally asked my employment to give me special hours so I could transport him back and forth to the outpatient program for 5 months. I did everything to make sure that they both felt welcomed and loved in my home. We had him in private counselling after his stint in the hospital but he quit about a month into it. Just stopped talking. Now in 2017, we found some evidence that he may be injecting synthetic steroids (i.e. a note he wrote with the name of the roids, cost, how many syringes, how many times a day, etc.). On top of that I found a bottle of unopened estrogen blockers in his room. Last week, his father found that he is using bitcoins to buy items on line that totaled $285. I simply cannot stand the stress and aggrevation he causes. My husband turns a blind eye (suffers from Guilty Father Syndrome for leaving them in 2001). He wants "proof" that the is injecting but won't go find the proof. I am at my wits end with this situation. I was put at the bottom of my husband's priority list before our marriage and now again I am put at the bottom. He lashes out at me and my daughter (he helped raise my daughter from the age of 5) when something happens with his sons. I told him my feelings about the steroid situation and the situation with his youngest son in general - I can't trust him, he lies all the time, we helped him and he didn't learn anything while he was in the hospital and now he is possibly injecting himself with illegal substances, etc. and he just turns everything around on me. I just don't know what to do. I am ready to pack it up and leave.

reanna said...

I have been married for almost 11 years. We both have kids 4 him and 2 me but none together. He has one that has put me down and run me in the ground and he has yet to defend me. I have one that is wanting to come and stay with us for a few days and he says if he comes he's leaving. What do you do to that. Now mind you the son is in a bad way right now and needing some help but he says the he is not gonna be under the same roof as him. My son has had a few chances but he has never been w/o food and a home. What do I do?

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