Does a boyfriend's child get in the way of love?

suzieq_2006April 28, 2006

I am a recent college graduate. In January, I started dating a wonderful guy who 28 years old, while I am almost 22. The age difference is not a factor in our relationship. He has a great job, a great family, and same values as I do. Things are wonderful between us, and I think it will led to an engagement within the next year. Everything is perfect, except for one thing. He has a 7 year old child. When he was in college, his girlfriend at the time got pregnant. They never married or were together since the child was born, so the mother of the child is not a problem either. The child is a great boy, who really likes me as well. I have just been really concerned, now that the relationship has become serious, that if my boyfriend and I build a life together, will my future kids and I always be second priority. I want him to be a good dad to his son, which he is, but a part of me feels like I'm cheating myself out of having a the ability to be #1 my future husband's life. I am hurt by the fact that I am never going to be the one who can give him his first child and go through those type of exeriences with. I really want to hear what other people in this situation have done. No one in my family has ever been divorced or had step kids, so I'm finding it hard to find someone to share this with.

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"Everything is perfect, except for one thing. He has a 7 year old child."

Well, apparently everything is NOT perfect.

If you read some of the other postings around here, you will see that I do no mollycoddling when it comes to stepfamilies and stepparenting.

Based upon the tone of your post, you are NOT READY to be a stepparent. No, the boy is perfect. It's your boyfriend who is not. You are already disappointed in the fact that you aren't the "first" and that you will be placed in an inferior position in his life, and you haven't even taken a step towards marriage.

The big, red warning flags are up all around you. You are concerned about YOUR children and YOUR needs, when in fact the most important things are the boy's needs. You don't get the luxury of even thinking about YOUR needs when you marry into the situation of stepparenting. Period.

I suggest that you look very critically and coldly at the facts and decide if you can learn to CELEBRATE the fact that your boyfriend has a child rather than thinking of him as an impediment to your happiness. Just accepting him is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 2:51PM
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I suggest you spend the time now reading this step parent forum, and really thinking about the reality of how these women feel about their step children, after they have had children of their own. Like you, they once dated and thought they had the perfect guy, except he had a child or two. They went ahead with the marriage, knowing ahead of time that he had children, and then resented the very presence of his children in her life. Make sure that your eyes are WIDE OPEN BEFORE you go into a marriage with a man with children. Get rid of the fairy tale images of what you think it will be like, and by reading this will fully understand the very possible that you know going into this, understanding that the fairy tale that you envision is just that...a fairy tale. Remember, that when you have your own child, that "nesting" instinct causes some women to want to push his "other" children out of the as not to spoil her image of her perfect little family.

Know ahead of time if you are the type of woman who can handle life if the going gets rough. Do you have the character to hang in there and do the right thing by a little boy (or teenager, as he will be soon enough) who needs to spend quality time with his father, and not resent him for it? Can you be a big enough human being to open your heart and home to his son and include him in your life, even if this same son causes you pain down the road?

Go VERY slow. Think this through very carefully. Talk to other people you meet who have married men (or women) with children, and learn from them. If you go forward, do so only if you know that you can relax and allow your husband to be the father he needs to be without resenting him for the time he spends with his children.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 4:05PM
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He has had a relationship with that boy for SEVEN YEARS, and you have been dating him for FOUR MONTHS. The kid has seniority over you. Are you grown up enough to accept it.

a part of me feels like I'm cheating myself out of having a the ability to be #1 my future husband's life.

If his previous sex life and relationships make you feel cheated out of being the first, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest convent. There are few guys over the age of 20 who have not already had a serious relationship.

I am hurt by the fact that I am never going to be the one who can give him his first child and go through those type of exeriences with.

If you are hurt by somethig that is this petty, you need to grow up a LOT before you consider marriage to anyone.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 7:08PM
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Verena, I'm wondering why taking a child to baseball or ballet and leaving the other adult alone for dinner is a big deal. Most people I know do this for their kids. Don't kids deserve to play baseball or take ballet if they want, even though it generally does interfere with dinner once a week? Am I missing something?

Vivian's got it right - - if you are feeling a bit jealous now, you will only feel more so as time goes on. Do some reading on this forum.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 7:24AM
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If it's only a night a week I don't think it's a problem either (if you can afford it). But I know some people who have two, three or more children, that are each involve in several different extra-cariculars, and they few if any family dinners. (Ever heard the way to a man's heart is through his stomach?? I think that's if you're a great chaufer at the expense of your Hubby's stomach or heart...if he thinks he's just not enough of a priority for you to cook anymore...) They put the childs desire (or sometimes the child isn't even asking for it) to do dance/gymnastics/sports/martial arts/etc. ahead of time spent as a family.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think (IMHO) a lot of times people put too high of a priority on these things. My brothers and I grew up having a set of swimming lessons once a year (and all the lessons were scheduled to overlap so there was only one trip/week while the lessons were going on. That was it. But we had did have family dinners every night, we did a lot of camping and boating/waterskiing together. As we got into high school and were able to drive ourselves, given the option of other activites. (1 sport/activity per year.)

In the small town I grew up in a lot of the parents PUSHED their children to play hockey or ringette, and often it appeared to be at the expense of the marriage. The cost was very high, there were often 2-3 practices a week and then there were still games and tournaments on top of that. Half the time it seemed like the kids didn't even want to play, because the coaches were so focused on winning, and the parents would sit in the stands and yell at their kids (because they, the parents, had put a large investment into it, in both time and money.) On top of that often these kids were at the bottom in their class, and were the worst behaved. I think a lot of that was because of the lack of family time. (A parent screaming at thier kid, or other kids, from the bleachers doesn't count.)

Now I'm not saying that sports like hockey are a bad thing, I'm just saying that I think people should really look at what has more long term value and set their priorities on that. Kids grow up fast, then they go out on their own and there are very few future Gretzky's/Julia Robert's/etc. out there. Sure, sports/etc. teach lessons about hard work/practice/setting & attaining goals, but those lessons can be learned at home as well. I'd rather have my children, when they're grown, look back on all the happy memories of time spent together, the conversations around the dinner table, the summer evenings spent at the beach together.

One day our kids will be grown. They will move out, and they will start their own lives. When that happens, if we have put our energy into our marriage (first) and our family (second), I firmly believe we will have a strong relationship with our spouse, and our children will still love us and come to visit. If we put our children first and our marriage second, in twenty years, when the kids move out, there will be nothing left of our relationship with our spouse. That person will end up a stanger, you won't know (him) and (he) won't know you. You'll end up alone. Sure the kids will still love you, and they'll still come to visit...

So in my long and rambling way what I'm saying is this, I don't think sports/lessons are a bad thing. I just think they should only be taken on in ways and in quantites that don't negatively impact your relationship with your spouse. These activities are a priviledge, not a right. Just because we want to give our child everything they desire or everything we never had, doesn't mean that these things are needed or even necessarily best for them.

Just my $0.02

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 7:59PM
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Verena, that is SO right. Just a couple of weeks ago while sitting in the kitchen with the husband the 2 stepkids having dinner, the 15 year old girl said to us "I like it when we're here because we eat dinner together." She actually SAID that. I was floored. Apparently at mom's, when they're all home for dinner, the 3 kids eat at the bar in the kitchen (they have a younger half-brother) and mom and stepdad eat in the dining room. (It's only a FAMILY meal if you eat it together...duh.) For the life of me, I can't figure out why the kids don't sit in the dining room with them. I didn't ask. It didn't seem to be my business, but I wanted to.

Of course, they are the kind of family that is always running. Weeknights are full, and weekends are even more full. They're very active in their church, and that seems to eat up every minute of every day that they're not working. All the kids do a sport of some kind, and we do help with running the boy to swimming and the girl to soccer, etc. It's a lot, but they like doing those things so I think that they should.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is SO VERY IMPORTANT for families to sit down together and just chat about whatever. Dumb stuff. Doesn't matter.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 8:17PM
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suzieq, Really think this over. By what you have said I would recommend you do not stay in this relationship. I will be straight forward with you. I have been in a stepfamily situation for a couple years and have been unhappy with it. The kid will always come first, every which way, finacially, emotionally, etc.. I do not recommend marrying a man with children it is to much work and stress. You asked for input and I gave it openly and honestly. You are young, find someone without kids. That is my advise.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 5:06PM
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i'm 23 and my boyfreind is 25, we have been dating for 5 months now and he has a 2 year old daughter... it is the first time i'm dating a divorcee or dad. i know you have gotten a whole lot of advice so far but i have been searching for answers just like you. i have been a bit confused about the whole experience but i realized that it is a choice i need to make, and i that i need to ask myself if he is worth all the stress and complications. i do realize he has a past and i have to be willing to accept it and make myself part of both their lives. i would love to be his first at all these things (don't we all want that?) but i will never be...
i still want to be in his life even knowing i will never come first. these questions make me realize that i have to let go of those fantasies of mine...

i don't see myself without him and i still want to have him and his daughter in my life... is that how you feel???

like someone else wrote, your boyfriend's ex is not a problem for you both but my boyfriend's ex is... and the one thing that worries me is that after a conversation with her, he expressed to me that he would never remarry!(he repeated it 3 times)now i wonder if he really meant it or if he said it out of anger.

that's a problem i'm seriously thinking about now... what do you think about that???

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 10:53PM
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"after a conversation with her, he expressed to me that he would never remarry!(he repeated it 3 times)"

Sounds to me like he'll never marry again--ESPECIALLY after he repeated it 3 times. Men usually say what they mean (in general), so if marriage is your goal, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Anyway, do you really want to marry someone who is harboring that much hostility and that soured on marriage? Doesn't sound like a good place to start to me.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 6:47AM
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You do have a point there...thank you so much for replying so promptly. Maybe Ive been making excuses for him, because his wife literally picked up and left one day as he explained to me... she said she was "home sick" (homesick!!!!!!???) And took his daughter and moved back in with mom! I understand how hurt he is, I just was hoping that maybe he would heal on day, since it's still early in our relationship.

He's had his daughter for a week now and the last time I saw him was before he drove 13 hours to get her. IÂm wondering if IÂm over reacting but I haven't seen him since the day he left. I have been a little distant since that marriage comment he made and IÂve asked to see him twice since he got back but he's been tired and then today he said he just wanted to spend time with his daughter... and that he hasnÂt seen her in so long he just wants to be with her. I got mad because all I wanted was I few hours of his time my response to him was that I knew he hadn't seen his daughter in months but that I thought maybe he would at least want to see me for a few hours.

He keeps saying he misses me but... shouldn't he want to spare a couple of hours a week to be with me? (We live an hour from each other) and I wanted to drive to him.

Am I being selfish, and unreasonable? or does he not really mean what he says?

thank you, i really appreciate your advice, you're a great help... i think i need a wake up call...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 7:07PM
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Yes, that's selfish. The man hasn't seen his daughter in quite a long time. He needs to be with her--alone. His sole focus should be her right now--for however long she needs. He probably is tired after chasing his girl around for a week.

I fear that this is the wrong tree for you. You should not compete with his daughter--EVER. She is only with him a brief time, so let them be.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 7:51PM
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thanks Vivian, :) as hard as this is for me to swallow... i think i understand. i just thought, out of a month that a couple hours a week wansn't to much to ask... but i guess it is... you're really good at this advice thing.
it really sucks for me, i wish i knew what i was getting into when i fell for him... but i have to learn somehow right?

i have a lot more thinking to do... hopefully pull myself out of this as safely as possible.

thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 8:07PM
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Suzieq, I'm in a similar situation. I'm 21, a year out of college, dating a wonderful 25yo guy with a 5yo son. However, I never thought of his son as "getting in the way" of my relationship with my BF. I completely agree with Verena and Vivian, if you can't accept that you're not just with your BF, but with your BF AND his son, then get out of the relationship. You can't see the child as the "one thing that's not perfect," but as PART of the perfect relationship. If you're unable to do that (which is perfectly understandable, none of my friends would be and they think I'm crazy for being with a guy with a kid), then you owe it to yourself, your boyfriend and your boyfriend's son to leave.
As far as my situation goes, I made a conscious decision that if there was ever a conflict between myself and my BFs son, that I would leave. As happy as I am with my BF (and he with me), I knew that if I came between father and son, our relationship would quickly go down the tubes. Just like Verena, I decided that I would treat and love his son as if he were my own. It's not always easy, but being a parent (whether biological, step, or just in that role) never is. All kids need love, no matter whose they are.
What I had to come to terms with is the fact that psycho-manipulative-ex-girlfriend would ALWAYS have a say in our life together. She has control over our weekend schedules, where we spend the holidays, and can spoil my BFs mood with one sentence. However, her son loves her with everything he's got and he's a great little kid, so part of her must be okay . . . at least that's what I tell myself whenever I start to get resentful.
Meeting someone at 21 and becoming an instant parent to a five year old wasn't exactly my idea of happily ever after, but that's okay, I just changed my idea of happily ever after. Dating a single dad is awesome, if you're willing to step up and accept responsibility for a child you didn't give birth to. It's not easy and there are tons of people who can't and even more who shouldn't. If you are not willing to be a parent (with all the sacrifices and responsibilities) from the moment you meet someone, don't date a single parent.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 3:48PM
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I met my husband when he was the same age as your boyfriend and I was your age. I am here to tell you that you are worried about the wrong things. If your boyfriend is a good father to his child, he will be an equally good father to the child(ren) you and he have together. I cannot even begin to tell you how inconsequential that concern becomes, because there are so many, such more difficult problems with which you will likely be faced.

Ex-wives can look harmless, but they don't necessarily remain that way. Little kids are cute, but they become teens. Obligations to the first child can mean that your children do without -- including college -- while you and your husband pay for the education of his child from the first marriage.

Love CAN conquer all -- I'm still married -- but only if you are a tough, giving woman. No others need apply for the stepmom job.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 10:32PM
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I too am in a situation like this. I am divorced and had a previous stepdaughter that was perfect. I almost married another man whose daughter was perfect too. This time around, I believe I have found a man that I truly love. His daughter is adorable, just one thing. She is three and abuses animals. She bites them till they whimper. She kicks them and calls them bad. She torments the kitten in the bathroom. I am hoping she grows out of this. She is also very disrespectful to adults, which annoys me greatly for I would never let my kid do that. I don't have any children though. She eats badly with lots of sugary food a day. I am not going into detail to how much sugar is too much, but it is ridiculous. I worry about her health. Shouldn't the parents worry about her health though? I told her no to her eleventh (yes, I know!) sugary snack and she kicked me in my face. My tooth was loose and my lip swelled for two days. I didn't cry, but I wanted to so badly. I went to her dad and said what she did. He took care of it by putting her on the chair for twenty minutes. He doesn't spank, he's very patient like that which is why I love him. I do believe in spanking though. She is only three though. When I have kids I want to spank them at four and beyond. Not crazy spanking, just one spank for efficiency. My kids will be spanked, she will not be. Believe me all these things come into factor. I now realize that I will not be spanking my kids. It's wierd. This child is not so wonderful as my past stepchild and almost stepchild. I love this man, though. I fear of teenage years. I know how I was at that age. I want this family to work. I want dinner at the tables, no violence to animals, and my kids to not be violated by their stepsister either. It is going to take so much work. The three year old still sleeps in the bed with us too. This was before I was there though. She had her Dad all to herself for two years before we met. So, this stays, but he is attempting to wean her of this without me saying a thing. I love him. I love her too. It's just scary if she doesn't grow out of this stage. I have already told him that it is important for us to develop our relationship first before the instant mother stage. It was the other way around at first. It was instant mother. He is working on it. He is great. I don't mind her sleeping in the bed, though, it can be inconvenient. That's life. I am so happy he is such a good Daddy. I know where you are coming from though. Sometimes I get mad about the exwife, though, for she tries to take her away from him. He has her joint with every other week, and because she drops her daughter off to do things on the weekend he takes his daughter most weekends too. It's hard to find time for us. At the same time I have a great boyfriend who is a great dad. That is so awesome. He has so much patience. This possible stepchild will require much more energy than did my other stepchild(5 years old) or almost to be stepchild(2 1/2 years old). She has to learn to not ever hit me again, though. That is where the stress lies right now. I do not want her to ever physically hit me again with kicking, biting, or anything. I have gotten around this by immediately telling her dad anytime she acts up and he will take care of it. If I don't bring it to his attention, though, he does nothing. I have to constantly do this. That is all right with me though. If I marry this man, she will have the consistency I would want for my children though him.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I think the problem with your boyfried's child may be more serious than you think. Have you ever suggested that they take her to counciling? I just googled "childhood abuse of animals" and found several sights that refenced early childhood abuse of animals as a precursor to much more violent crimes against humans in the future. This is just what was on the Dr. Phil sight...

Recognize the severity of the situation. If you think killing a hamster and torturing a dog is where it's going to stop, you're wrong. A child harming or killing a family pet is a precursor to some very serious violent behavior. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty against animals don't stop there; many of them move on to their fellow humans. Children who harm family pets are at risk for other kinds of acting out behavior and need immediate help. What also goes along with torturing animals is setting fires. If you smell smoke, you'd better take it seriously.

Additional information from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals:

Studies show that acts of cruelty toward animals are the first signs of violent pathology that includes human victims.

Animal abuse is not just the result of a minor personality flaw in the abuser, but a symptom of a deep mental disturbance.

The FBI has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appear in its computer records of serial rapists and murderers.

Studies show that violent and aggressive criminals are more likely to have abused animals as children.

Domestic abuse is directed toward the powerless; animal abuse and child abuse often goes hand and hand.

Children who abuse animals most likely are repeating a lesson learned at home from their parents or guardians. They are reacting to anger or frustration with violence.

The child's violence is directed at the only individual in the family more vulnerable than themselves an animal.

I'm not saying that this child is going to be a murderer when she grows up, but It sounds like she has some serious issues. Do what you can to get her the help she needs, and think very seriously if you want to subject yourself and your own children to this.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 1:48PM
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I think the fact that his child gets along with you is a wonderful thing. I also dont think your boyfriend will not be as excited (or more so) if you guys have a child together. It WILL the first for him,because he will be in love with you.With you it will be a planned thing,something you both want.
That is how it is with me and my husband. He has other children,but he wasnt there for their births or really involved with them as babies. So,everything with our daughter was like it was the first time for him too.
Normally I'd say be weary.But sounds like all of you have adjusted well to the situation and if you love him,then you should go with it.
As long as you are comfortable then that's all that matters.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 11:21PM
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Dear Suqiez, I am in a similar situation. My bf of a year has a 5 year old and a bitter, nasty and manipulative ex wife who doesnt want him to have contact w his son.

It poses more than a few issues - I am ok one way or another with the son but he has been brainwashed to run away from his father and myself. A court battle has ensued to compel the ex wife to let him have access to his son. This is both emotionally n financially draining.

I have tried my utmost to be supportive but in the effort I've neglected to face my own feelings. I also have had selfish wants for myself - I'm afraid I will not be first priority any more (I was when he wasnt able to see his son for eleven months) and it will just change the nature of our relationship.

I'm afraid I am not strong enough to handle it. I love him and I wan to be selfless and loving but doesn't my needs and wants count for something too?

He has called me selfish for voicing my feelings and I am just concerned that while I'm looking out for his needs and emotions, no one is looking out for mine.
I come fr a conservative, traditional Asian family who doesnt believe in divorce, or sex before marriage etc. Dating him is already pushing the boundaries, both mine and my family's values and I'm not sure how far I can go seeing as we've only been going out for a year and theres no guarantee where we're heading.

I also had concerns about not being the first one and number one to share these life changing experiences with.

I've been depressed and crying for a few days now ( he's seeing his son for the first time in eleven months tomoro) and am terrified things will change drastically between us.

Its good to know that I'm not the only one who feels threatened by kids.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 5:25AM
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i think that sometimes people raise their children in the way that they do become a problem in a relationship. i think if one raises children to be selfish and demanding then eventually these children will be a problem. i think if chidlren know that they are extremelly important but still not the center of the universe then they will never cause any problem in a relationship.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:49AM
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"I wan to be selfless and loving but doesn't my needs and wants count for something too?"

Yes, your needs & feelings do count, & your values count.
& being "selfless" works only when the other party is as selfless as you are & as committed to your happiness as you are to his.

If being in this relationship is going to cost you everything that's important to you (feelings, needs, values, happiness)......

There *are* guys out there who would be thrilled to find a girl who doesn't believe in divorce or sex before marriage, & who would be most gratified to find someone who would care for them enough to push her own boundaries, her own comfort zone, for the sake of their love & their relationship.

Take care of yourself.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:20AM
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Suzieq, just from the following statement I can tell you that you need to find a boyfriend who is childless:

"Everything is perfect except for one thing. He has a 7 year old child."

I will tell you that you will always be second so if you are not OK with this you should move on now. That's not to say your feelings and opinions wont be valued but if it comes between you and his child.....You should WANT him to put his son first. I wouldnt have respect for any parent who put his/her girlfriend before their child(ren). I am a Step to two beautiful girls who I love very very much, by the way. I also have a wonderful husband who has honored me by allowing me to help him raise them.

I will tell you if I got pregnant that my child would be treated the same as the girls from both my husband and myself. I will tell you that ALOT of step families can't honestly say that. If you are already on the defensive and you have only been together for 4 months and you don't have any children yet I bet any amount of money you will fall under that category. Think really hard on this because even though I am so sure you love this man and he is a great guy....he was a daddy first so if you don't think you can hang, you'll both just wind up miserable.

Best of luck

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 7:25PM
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What's with all the two year old posts that keep cropping up?
This is odd... Especially since a few of them lately have been resurfaced by people who aren't regular posters... Makes me wonder if trolls just pick controversial threads to rekindle?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 7:40PM
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Children get in the way of everything. Period! Childhood is the one time in life when you are supposed to be somebody's priority. What if you get married and your husband does make you his top priority? Will you be happy with that even though it may be at the expense of the child? Speaking from my personal experience, this child is old enough to notice that he is not getting the same attention he used to get. I hope you realize that you're situation is going to be just as difficult for the child as it is for you. Probably even more so because you are making a concious decision and the kid is just along for the ride. If you are uncertain that you can love this child as if they were your own you should not get married yet. If you don't believe that in every marriage the children should be the priority then you're probably not ready to get married at all. You make it sound as if the child's mother is not a big part of his life so If you're going to be the child's only "mother" then you should be certain that you're up to the task. You don't get a do-over when it comes to raising children.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:54AM
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In response to finedreams, I don't think i was raised to be a selfish, self-centered child. But I was raised without competition. Not only was I an only child for the first 8 years of my life but i was the only grandchild. So it was very hard for me to adjust to having to share my mum with someone. I didn't so much mind having a brother, but it meant that i had even less of my mum's time. My stepdad did not have any kids and his family was not very welcoming to me so that made it even harder.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 2:08AM
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I think some posters do google searches to see if anyone else has their problems.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:19AM
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ceph, I think you are right. I was looking at some of these postings and there is a sort of unreality about some of them. Before I read your post I was wondering what was wrong with some of them. Unless tonedeaf is a very tiny person a 3 year old shouldn't be able to do that much damage. I vote for troll and if you search some of the people they have never posted anything before. With that many problems you would think they would have brought them up before.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 5:38PM
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A few years back an ex from my teens surprised me by contacting me. We had a dramatic break-up in high school, and he married a girl from school and they had three children. He then has since then had several with another woman we went to school with. Is it wrong for me to not want to "ever" feel love for his children? I have no problem with dating men with a child or two, but the thought of having these children in my life, only leads me to have feelings of "hate" for them. I see myself never even acknowledging them, and never showing an ounce of love for them. Is this understandable since the mother was someone he chose over me when we were children? Are my feeling justified? Sometimes I think that even thinking this way is wrong, but I never see myself wanting anything to do with his exs or his children, I look at them like they are an infectious disease.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:27PM
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Troll or not, I guess I'll respond with my usual answer to a question like this:

People have all kinds of FEELINGS, and the ones you describe are not surprising or abnormal given the situation. But we don't have to be a slave to our feelings and we don't get to use them as excuses to justify current, past or future contemplated bad decisions and/or bad treatment of others. We have a choice as to what to do about a situation given what we know are our feelings about it. It's making the right CHOICES that determines if we are "right" or "wrong", responsible or irresponsible, a help or a hindrance, "good" or "bad". If you really can't ever imagine learning to see the good in those kids, you're not likely going to be able to treat them in the manner that every child ought to have a right to be treated. And that, in turn, is going to cause yourself heartache down the road. So if that's true, it might be smart to choose to walk away. On the other hand, if you think you can try, and you agree that the kids deserve to be exposed only to those who will accept them and treat them kindly no matter what feelings exist, then you can choose to stay involved and work diligently on that. If you can accomplish that, it might be the most truly satisfying triumph of your life and a chance to make sure your influence on the kids' lives is a positive one.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 11:43AM
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It's 3am in my country and I am so upset - I have been crying like someone dear to me has passed away. Out of desperation I have found myself searching this subject. I have found comfort knowing other women out there feel the same way that I do.
I'm 32 and my BF is 30 - he has a 4 y.o. daughter.
My parents split when I was 6 y.o. I have had many step-parents and step-siblings and have one half-brother. I don't want this to be in my life anymore but if I stay with my BF, it will mean I am then a step-mother and any possible children we have together will go through the same things I went through as a child/teen like: watching parents arguing, fighting for attention, not ever being able to do what I wanted to, etc. It's complicated and intricate and I have suffered as a result of it. If you have not been in this situation yourself, I don't feel you can understand how traumatic it can be. I don't know if it want this for myself or my unborn children. I want to be our own, independent family that cannot be interrupted by outside factors.
My second issue with this scenario is that I want the fairytale of meeting someone wonderful, falling in love, getting married and having a child. I want to go through the magical and scary first time of having a baby with someone. (My BF showed me a video of his daughter and I had such a negative physical reaction to it.)
However, my BF is amazing. I love him deeply and he takes care of me. Our relationship is serious. I want to be a mum - not a step-mum. I want my future to be different to my past and I don't want my children to go through what I went through. I want to have the first time experience with someone but feel like the shine has been rubbed off it as he's done it all before.
I look forward to learning of your experiences or opinions if anyone has anything to share.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:13PM
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Midnight Fairy, start a thread of your own. This one is old, and too confusing to follow. I'm happy to post on a new thread if you start one. Best wishes, Silver

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 2:48PM
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Thanks Silver - I have started a thread of my own.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 5:00AM
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suzieq -

You do have a right to feel concerned and are smart to realize that dating a single dad does change things related to priorities. My best advice would be to take things slow! I am engaged to my fiance who has a 7 year old daughter. I never imagined myself as a mom, much less a step mom so I often have a hard time coping with the situation and some days I wonder what on earth I'm doing. One advantage I have over you though is that I'm a bit older (27) and have been married before so some of the novelty of marriage has worn off and allows me to really slow down that whole process.

You need to do a lot of soul searching to decide if you want to take on the responsibility being presented to you. It took me quite a while to get to the point of realizing that I am #1 in my fiance's eyes - his best friend, his partner, his love. His child is his #1 responsibility, his sweet princess, his blood. Just like you can love both your mother and best friend, your boyfriend can love you and his child both equally and differently. I like to think of the single parent relationship as a modified triangle. When a couple loves each other first, then has a child that they both love, the triangle looks traditional:

\ /

In a single parent situation it's opposite because the parent and child were together first:

/ \

This does greatly impact your relationship with your boyfriend because he loves his child currently while you are still in the process of getting to know and learning to love (hopefully) his child. Since it's not exactly automatic though, it's hard to know what will happen...

I also come from a family with no divorce, no step-parents, etc. I have one half cousin and that's it. Be prepared to have days where you feel utterly frustrated, depressed, hopeless and like you're doing everything wrong. If you can make it through those, you might be on the right track. It's going to take much more than a few months to decide though. I have been with my fiance for about 15 months now and we have promised not to make any wedding plans until next year since I still experience stress getting used to our new "family" and we don't need the stress of a wedding on top of that.

Good luck, but honestly I'd say at 22 you've got so many more options out there with guys who don't have children and the issues that come with them. I'm not saying you should ruin a great relationship, but you should carefully consider what you really want before making a lifelong commitment.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Darfandwa, susie q's post is years old, somebody brought it back up and this is what happens :-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 3:23AM
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Hello, I have been with my bf for 3 1/2 years and we have a child. The two major problems im having with him is he has two other kids by two different women ( ages 7 & 3). My problem is the 7 year old lives with us and had been living with us for the last 2 years. Her mother would rather hang out and party in suppose to her being a mother and raise her child. I try to talk to him and explain to him its not right, he needs to at go and get a child support order on her. He just agree with me, but no action is being taken. The other child the 3 year old, first let me start off by saying I didnt kno his mom was pregnant. When I found out about her I was pregnant myself. Anyway after the child was born my life became a nightmare. He allows her to control when he can see the child and when he cant. It pisses me off so badly because he wont stand up for himself at all and when I confront him about the situation he always defends her. Im really at the end of my ropes and considering leaving the relationship. Am i making the right decesion???

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:56PM
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Since you have a child with him I would suggest counseling first.

You say the BM won't let your BF see his child. Perhaps the two of you can meet with an attorney for a consultation. With your BF there, you can ask the attorney what his rights as father are and what options are available to him. Hopefully the knowledge will empower him to do something about the situation. But after that you will have to step back and realize this is his fight and he has to do this himself.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:00PM
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I was just searching online looking for help and guidance for my situation and stumbled on this forum.

I am 24 years old, I have been with my partner for 3 years October 2012. My partner has never been married and has 4 children to 3 different women. When I first mt his kids it was great. We all went out together and I treated them as if they were my own. Then one child in particular started to come in between us (the 1 child my partner calls his favourite). Every time this child was around my partner and I always got into massive fights. None of the other kids would have this affect.
My partner then became incarcerated, and everyone in his family has turned their backs on him and he isnt concerned as long as I am near. One of the sons has made up stories about his dad causing docs to be called and then made up stories about me forcing him to call him mum (which my partner and I decided that we would ask the kids to call me aunty because all three exes always cause drama).

He has been incarcerated for nearly 2 years now and has seen a 3 of his kids a couple of times but his fav son he has not seen at all. only spoken to him over the phone on the odd occassion. His mother does want him to see his dad and she constantly tells his family that she hates that her son loves his dad more than her.

Meanwhile his own mother tried to pawn his belongings and he wants nothing to do with her as she treats his first ex as if she was her daughter and for some reason she doesnt like me. I dont know why because I did everything for her. My partnr has now banned me from speaking to her along with several other people.

Today i left visits early so that my partner could speak to his son. I called my partners younger brother who was with his son and let him know this is what I did (as I spoke to his son earlier that day he seemed lost and answered questions with one word) When the call connected, my partner was probing and probing and his son again was replying with one word answers and there were several silent periods. As the call was about to end my partner kept saying i love you my boy and he only replied with same.
I got a little bit flustered, as I made a sacrafice to make 2 other people happy and I didnt even get a thank you. Not to mention I didnt speak to either of them again after that.

I sure know I got myself into a situation. The thing is I love him with all my heart and I will do what ever I can to support him and his children.

My concern is when he comes home everyone is going to want to know him again and all his exes will start playing their games. and then his kids will start playing up and telling lies and then it gets to a place where we start to fight.

He assures me not to worry and tell me we are in this together. I told him I do not want to be the girl who his kids hate and I will never make him choose. I told him I will get up and leave if it ever comes to that and he got mad and said it wont be like that, when he comes home he wants to get married and he wants us to have a family. The thing is his fav son lies and munipulates just like his mum (the x). The x worries me too coz if she knows my partner has money she tries to get back with him. My x assures me he wont go back n has started to get her name removed to show me.

I just dont know what to do. I have been through so much. We come from very different worlds and I hate that his family dont care, I just want to help and be there for him.

Honestly I am that lost I am not sure what I need. :(

Can someone help me? Please :(

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 9:26AM
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I'm sorry, but if you're for real then you are a fool if you think this story is ever going to have a happy ending. For your own sake, throw him back and make yourself open to loving someone else with no issues.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 10:54AM
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Wait, wait, wait. I'm going to say something, and I'll tell you right now that it will not be the popular opinion. However, you are NOT second priority to your boyfriend's children, or at least you should not be if the two of you are seriously considering getting married.
Children's needs are not more important than adults, they are simply different needs. We are all beings, that need love and attention. Perhaps children are more helpless, but they are NOT more important. We are all of equal importance. Putting a value judgement on human life (any human life) is in itself, foolish and petty.
I have some personal experience with a situation like this, and usually the people who feel so strongly about the "kids were here first" notion, are single mothers who are working with some of their own issues.
I repeat children are not more important than adults. They are just different. And sometimes in this very child centered society (which I totally disagree with anyway,but that's a whole other post)we forget that children need to be denied their wants as well, because that is just the way life is. Get over it. Everyone, will have to accept this fact eventually. The sooner the better. Make your kids strong, not spoiled.
This post comes late, and I feel for you. But you, and so many others feel the same way because there is truth in it. The truth being that you are not less important. And if your fiance, boyfriend, whatever doesn't get this he is wrong.
Your needs do not get relegated to second place for a child. That's an old idea, and in my very strong opinion, a ridiculous one.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:29PM
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"...children are not more important than adults"

While in general of course this statement can be viewed upon as valid, as a divorced father of two kids, here is where (from my point of view) you are dead wrong: MY kids are more important to ME than any adult will ever be.

These kids will be the ONLY children I ever have (not doing the "second family" thing lots of guys do...), and likewise I will be their ONLY father.

My GF of 4+ years is great and I love her to pieces, but I am sorry in my mind my obligation to my kids comes first...and she is the same way with her son....I respect this. As a matter of fact, when I started dating after the breakup of my marriage, I would have been very put off by someone who didn't put the needs of their kid(s) first, before a boyfriend.

Oh well, we all have different opinions....

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Mkroopy, why bother to explain yourself to a delibrate pot stirrer with such a generic posting as was posted to do just that? There is no need to try and be sensible with such a poster...especially one who did not bother to lay her story out, but rather just came to declare her 2 cents.

I imagine it's just some sour grape whining indicating the poster's personal views are not jiving with her reality.

Ssshhh, Mkroopy, you can go back to your happy life that totally works for you ;-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 1:58PM
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I guess I just for the most part figure that anyone taking the time to seek out and sign up to participate in a forum is actually interested in discussing things on a rational level.

I sort of thought for the most part that "trolling" in an online discussion group just to get under people's skin died off years ago with the Nigerian bank scam....

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:46PM
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Likely done for the same reason a thread here was cut/pasted over on an entirely different message board. The new thread 'My wife and son hate each other' was snagged from this forum and copied over on Steptalk (which by the way, I might assume is even in voilation of site policies) so that snagging person could respond over there and strike up a conversation/debate with her buddies over on that site.

Why not just join this forum if the thread actually interested the snagger and respond here where the original poster of thread susuposedly intended to bring it. Obviously whoever thought they needed to snag topics to entertain themselves over on the other site needed something new to 'voice' her opinion over. (*shrugs*)Obviously snagger should realize if it was in all innocence that the original poster of thread of message snagged would have no idea to go over there to read his responses LOL. Yeah, she's one helpful 'responder'.

Oh well, life is too short and full of much more pressing issues than to worry about why anybody does anything.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 3:42PM
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I have got the same problem :S
I don't feel like i'm not Number 1 on my boyfriend life. He take care of both, me and her douther. The thing is... she's crazy about me, she wants to be ALL the time with me, she wants me to do everything with her. That's supposed to be god, but not for me, sometimes i feel that is just too much for me. I asked my boyfriend to help me with her... and he does, but not as much as I want to.
We are about to get married... we already live together... but i'm really worry about my healt. I feel like Im losing my life, im taking care too much about them and too little about me. I dont know what to do.
I dont have ANY problem at all for them to spend time together, that would be good for them. But its been two years now, and thing havent change much yet...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Hi everyone. This is my first time posting here. I was incredibly relieved to find this discussion, as while my friends and family are very supportive and attempt to be helpful, none have any experience whatsoever with being in a relationship with someone with children.

Okay, here it goes: I am a 30-year-old woman who is in a 4 and a half year relationship with a wonderful, brilliant, kind, successful 42-year-old man who I connect with in more ways than I can count. I met him when I was 25, and his two daughters were 11 and 16. He has sole custody of them, and went through a long and painful court battle to win custody (this was prior to our meeting). Their mother is abusive, manipulative, and completely insane, and they don't have much contact with her. I have been fortunate enough to not have had contact with her because of her minimal contact with the kids and the fact that she and my boyfriend completely ignore one another (he has made several attempts to stay on good terms with her, but she only seems interested in using the kids to hurt him. They themselves have even asserted this. I try to remain neutral when they tell me such things). The extra-complicated part in all of this is that their relationship began when he was just 15 years old, and she was 27. He came from an abusive home and ended up in a relationship with this sick person (who is obviously also a pedophile). Fortunately, he had the sense to get out, but not before he had two children with her.

I met the kids almost immediately when we started dating (big mistake), and even though they liked me and I liked them and we got along quite well, we absolutely should've spent more time developing a strong foundation between us beforehand. I tried my hardest to be considerate, kind, and caring without being overbearing or attempting to assume a parental role (as I am just 9 years older than his eldest). We did most things together, and after awhile, I found myself feeling quite stressed out about the lack of adult time with my boyfriend. We made more of an effort to do that, and things seemed to be going well for awhile, but he then began to ask about my moving in with him. I explained that while I loved him, I didn't think I was yet ready to, a), move in with someone, and b), move in with someone and their children (he is also my first long-term relationship, and I have never lived with anyone). In addition to the marriage to the mother of his children, he had a brief (6-month) marriage that ended about 6 months before we met, so he is quite comfortable with the idea of living with someone.

A few years ago, he began having some major issues with his youngest(who is now 16). Since then, she's been hospitalized for cutting and suicidal thoughts, has abused heroine and been involved in prostitution, has spread malicious lies about my boyfriend, and is now dating an equally disturbed young man whom she was forbidden to see when my boyfriend found out that this boy was emotionally abusive. The boy then threatened my boyfriend's life for cutting off his contact with the daughter, and she still wanted to be with him. She then went to her mother's (who she never sees and never wants to see), who allows her to see the abusive boyfriend, and who we found out tried to lure her to live with her by telling her that she and the abusive boyfriend can move in with her when they're 18, and has completely turned her back on my boyfriend, who is the most kind, loving father I've ever known. This was about 2 months ago, and she refuses to receive phone calls from him or see him, and her mother doesn't encourage her to repair her relationship with her father (and I assume she is actually enjoying knowing he's in pain because of how sick she is). My mind is absolutely blown by this (even as I write this, I am in utter shock and disbelief as to how crazy things have become with her and can't imagine how any of this would look to an outsider), and I am utterly brokenhearted to see my boyfriend in all of this pain over this very sick child. Her sister, the 21-year-old, has completely written her off, and has told me that she thinks there has always been something deeply wrong with her sister, but that she was always afraid to tell her father for fear of him being upset with her. Because it was always just the three of them, she worried that telling her father about her sister's behavior when he wasn't around would disrupt the family unit. Their mother was diagnosed by several court-appointed counselors as schizophrenic with borderline personality disorder, and we fear that this is what's happening with the youngest.
I have tried my very hardest to be supportive and loving during this incredibly challenging time. My boyfriend cannot sleep, is having a hard time focusing at his clinic, and is completely depressed.

As he has been pushing the idea of us living together for awhile now, this incident made me realize how important it is that I be there living with him (I am currently there 3-4 days/week), and I told him that I am seriously thinking about moving in together. His response was that he thinks that I am just happy that his daughter is gone, and that that is what prompted my desire to move in, which is not the case at all--I would much rather see her home and healthy, but I also pointed out to him that all she has caused him is pain for the past 3 years, and that maybe he does need a break from all this and maybe she needs to sort things out on her own, as he has done all he can to support and love her. He also pointed out that his 21-year-old is planning on moving out soon and thinks that I only want to move in because of that coupled with the youngest being gone. I will admit that I have expressed concern about the 21-year-old, mainly because she still doesn't have a license and still wants to spend every living, breathing moment with her father and has never dated, and even has to be right at his side at all times when in public (both kids reacted differently to their mother's abuse--one rebelled, the other hides from the world). Still, I like her very much and enjoy spending time with her, but do think it would benefit both of them for her to get out on her own and begin to form a separate identity.

This brings me back to the living together situation; my boyfriend also lives in a wealthy suburb that was a court-mandated part of the custody arrangement because the judge thought it best that the students remain in the prestigious school system there, so he is living where he is for the 16 year old. I currently live in the artsy part of the city, and am reluctant to move into the suburbs with him to wait for his rebellious daughter to return. He asked how I would feel if I moved in with him and she moved back in. I said it would be hard, but that I would support his decision. I also told him that it has been incredibly hard to see her hurt him like this over and over, and that I think it might be best for her to learn things the hard way right now. He was incredibly hurt by that, and said that what I was saying was because I never fully bonded with the kids (I've done my best!).

So I am at a crossroads. I can give up my fantastic apartment in a thriving art community (I am an artist) to move to the suburbs to wait for this terrible child to decide to move back in with him, or I might lose him (he is pushing me to make a decision). On one hand, I realize that it's just an apartment and a location and that my lifestyle would change. On the other hand, I worry about completely losing myself and becoming more and more steeped in the complete chaos of his relationship with his extraordinarily damaged daughter who keeps hurting him. I love him more than I ever thought possible, and don't want to lose him, but know I must make a decision. If you got this far, thank you for reading, and if you feel so inclined, please, I need some advice, and don't hold back.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:14PM
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justmetoo should have started a new thread of your own, as this thread is old if you seriously wanted people to read your lenghty post.

I'll assume you realize your post has several glaring contradictions, but than I suppose that's besides the point?So exactly what do you expect anyone to 'advise' and 'not hold back' from?

So what has your --"wonderful, brilliant, kind, successful 42-year-old man "-- done to support and help his daughter? Your post is full of how the teen has 'hurt' him, but nothing on what he has done to attempt to help his child. You also note he has full custody of how did mother managed to get the minor and all BF can do is toss up his hands and say 'I'm so hurt and there is nothing I can do about it or anything to assist my daughter in her troubled life whether it be mental and/or rebellious'.

As for you...move in or run, I doubt you need strangers advising you.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:43AM
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With so much stuff going on; don't move in yet. Keep it simple. If he loves you he should get his head around that.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Eh, this sounds like a trainwreck to me. Why is he pressing you to make a choice right now? Why can't things be the way they are? You yourself said that he's very comfortable with living with someone. Why can't you be a supportive girlfriend but still maintain YOUR life & YOUR home?

Man if I could turn back the clock I would be taking my own advice! So much hurt, heartache, & tears would have never happened. Trust me, if he really cares for you, he will be ok with you NOT moving in. He will understand and you can still have a relationship without living together for now.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:18AM
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